With the issue of Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh snowballing into a major embarrassment to the ruling Telugu Desam Party again, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu seems to be changing his strategies again.
Till a few months ago, Naidu used to say that the special category status to AP is a closed chapter and that his government had got a financial package that would compensate all the benefits that could be accrued to the state through SCS.
He even said the Finance Commission had ruled out special category status to any state and even those who already have it would lose the same shortly.
But nothing of that sort had happened and the Centre has extended benefits of SCS to the already existing special states for another 10 years. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh is yet to get the full financial package announced by the Centre even after one year.
So when the opposition parties under the banner of Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Samithi revived the agitation and took up Chalo Assembly on Monday, Naidu had to go on the defensive. He said his government or the party was not against the Special Category Status, but had to accept the package in the best interest of the state. “There is no use in taking up fights and agitations in Andhra Pradesh. They should do it in Delhi and achieve the status. We will also support it,” he said.
Naidu’s right hand Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy also said the TDP would never oppose any agitation for Special Category Status and was open for it.
“However what is the use of agitating in Vijayawada? The state government or the assembly cannot grant the status. YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy said he would ask his party MPs to resign to bring pressure on the Centre for special category status. What has he done?” he asked.
Apparently, the TDP, too, wants to take up the issue strongly before the elections, if it is confirmed that the BJP will cut off the alliance with it.