Chandrababu to meet PM Modi on special status issue

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Chandrababu-to-meet-PMWith Opposition parties stepping up attack on him over special category status to Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday said he has sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issue and other promises made to the state during bifurcation last year.

“I have sought Prime Minister’s appointment. I am writing letters for meeting Union Ministers. Very soon, I will request them to cooperate for resolving these problems,” Naidu said, addressing a public meeting in Visakhapatnam district.

Naidu’s comments came on a day when the main opposition YSR Congress, led by its president and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, held a dharna near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi demanding granting of the special status. The CPI has called for AP bandh tomorrow, in support of demand for the special status, and the state Congress has also extended its support for the shutdown. A Congress activist on Sunday succumbed to the burns he suffered after he immolated himself in support of the demand at a party meeting in Tirupati on Saturday.

“I expressed my deep anguish on the incident in Tirupati yesterday. I am requesting all not to resort to sacrifices. If need be, we will take up programmes to win over the Centre. But, if you indulge in tragedies out of emotions, then families will suffer. We will be troubled. I want that to be remembered,” the Chief Minister said. Naidu’s TDP shares power with BJP at Centre and in AP.

The promise of giving special status to Seemandhra (new Andhra Pradesh) was made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament during state bifurcation last year. Noting that Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated without a capital city of its own and amid a massive revenue deficit, Naidu said there are many problems and that the Centre needs to help the state till it catches up with neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka on the development front. The promises made to AP like special status, industrial incentives and financial assistance to backward areas would yield various benefits, Naidu said.

“In view of all these, this is a newly-divided state and there are hell lot of problems. I urge the Centre only one thing. We have neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana. I am requesting the Centre to stand by us till we develop like them. If they stand by us, then we can cooperate fully for development of the country,” he said.

The Centre has, indeed, helped the state on various counts, the Chief Minister said. “Certain things have been included in the (AP) bifurcation act. There are some problems on that. We don’t have systems (infrastructure). Centre needs to come forward liberally. What is mentioned in the bifurcation act, giving special status and they gave Rs 50 crore each for three districts in north Andhra and four districts in Rayalaseema for development of backward districts.

“They need to give further financial assistance. Financial assistance is needed for capital city development. Cooperation (of Centre) is fully needed to complete Polavaram project. Decision needs to be taken on Visakhapatnam railway division (zone). Revenue deficit last year was Rs 15,500 crore. They assured to help us. Certain things have already happened. We need to remember that. But, there are many which need to happen,” he said.

Naidu thanked the Prime Minister for merging certain mandals of Telangana with AP for the purpose of Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project. “I requested the Centre and they brought mandals in Telangana to us for the sake of Polavaram project. Prime Minister took initiative for that. I thanked him many times for that and I am thanking him again. They gave some money for (to bridge revenue) deficit. They gave Rs 1,000 crore for capital development,” he said.