New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s day-long protest in the National Capital on Monday, February 11, demanding special category status for the state attracted support from several opposition parties. Naidu is expected to submit a memorandum of demands to President Ram Nath Kovind tomorrow, raising the demand for proper implementation of the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The protest comes just a day after PM Narendra Modi attended a BJP rally in Andhra Pradesh. Modi’s state visit was opposed by Telugu Desam Party workers and common people, with “Go Back Modi” protests spurting across all districts.
Addressing the protest gathering, Naidu dubbed Modi as “imbalance” and that the BJP’s politics is based on division of people. “Modi came to Guntur yesterday. He spent so much time and so much energy to attack and criticise me but not to solve any problem. This is where you are totally imbalanced," IANS quoted Naidu. “The Prime Minister and NDA government are dividing the country. They are building a hatred campaign among people. Ultimately, they want political gain, but it can't be,” stated Naidu.
Also Read: Andhra Pradesh Roiled by Anger Over Denial of Special Category Status
In March 2018, TDP dropped out of the BJP-led NDA, as the central government failed to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Naidu claimed that the Centre did not deliver its promises to the state, including funds to bridge the revenue deficit, railway zone in Visakhapatnam, steel plant in Kadapa and petrochemical corridor.
Furthermore, Naidu claimed that the central government provided only Rs. 1,500 crore for development of state capital Amaravati while it was estimated that Rs. 5 lakh crore were required over 20 years to build a capital at par with Hyderabad.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader T Siva and Trinamool Congress's Derek O' Brien are among leaders who attended Naidu’s protest in front of Andhra Bhavan and extended their solidarity.
“I stand in support of Naidu. Special category status promise must be implemented without any further delay," Manmohan Singh said. He added that the “demand for special status had support of all parties when it was discussed in Parliament."
In February 2014, when Manmohan Singh was the prime minister, he had announced in the Rajya Sabha that special category status would be extended to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh comprising 10 districts, including four districts in Rayalaseema and three districts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, for a period of five years.
Naidu is joined by large number of protesters from Andhra Pradesh who reached Delhi by two special trains hired by the state government. PTI reported that a differently-abled man named Davala Arjun Rao, resident of Kinthali village in Srikakulam district from Andhra Pradesh, allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison outside Andhra Bhawan. He had come Delhi to participate in the TDP protest.