First Decision In Power Will Be To Grant Special Category Status To Andhra, Promises Congress

(MENAFN- IANS) Tirupati, March 1 (IANS) Congress General Secretary Sachin Pilot on Friday promised that after the INDIA bloc forms the government at the Centre, the first decision of the Cabinet will be to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

He made the promise while addressing a public meeting here along with state Congress President Y.S. Sharmila Reddy.

Titled 'Nyay Sadhana Sabha', the public meeting was held at Taraka Rama Stadium to demand special category status for the state.

Sachin Pilot recalled that 10 years ago, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken a decision in the Cabinet to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh but the BJP government betrayed the trust of people of the state.

"The people of Andhra Pradesh deserve the special category status and the Congress will give the status when we get voted to power," he said.

The Congress leader said since the BJP has no presence in the state, it has no intention of giving special category status. He said that no regional party has commitment and conviction to deliver the special status to Andhra Pradesh and that it is only a national party like Congress that will live up to its promise.

Sharmila said the first file to be signed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Claiming that the Congress is the only party which is sincere over the issue, she urged the people to decide whether they want to elect those who fight for the special status or those who "mortgaged" it.

Stating that SCS is Andhra Pradesh's right, Sharmila said she joined the Congress because it is committed to the issue. She recalled that it was the same venue that then BJP leader and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 promised that Andhra Pradesh will be given special category status not just for five years but for a period of 10 years.

Sharmila Reddy said Modi had also promised to build an excellent state capital, develop the state as a hardware hub, and construct Polavaram project but did not fulfill a single promise in 10 years. She said the BJP government at the Centre has done injustice to the state for the last 10 years.

"Neighbouring states are marching ahead on the path of development but Andhra Pradesh does not even have a state capital. Ours is the only state in the south which has no Metro rail," she said.

Targeting both ruling YSR Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party, she said both have become "slaves" of the BJP and compromise on the state's rights.

Slamming her brother and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Congress leader said he promised three state capitals but failed to deliver even one.

Sachin Pilot claimed that people want a change as the BJP government during the last 10 years made policies that weakened farmers, Dalits, backward castes, women, and middle classes.

He said the BJP government talks about federalism but is hesitant to give equitable share to states in the national wealth. He mentioned that the Karnataka government staged protests in Delhi and earlier Kerala and many other states also lodged protests. Sachin Pilot also alleged that the BJP government is using CBI, ED, IT and other agencies to attack leaders of opposition parties and using the agencies as a tool to control people.


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