The Narendra Modi government has fooled not only the people of Andhra Pradesh, but also their chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on the issue of special category status to the state.
His government has conveniently ignored the clause on special category status in the draft ordinance prepared by the earlier UPA government during its Cabinet meeting held on March 1, 2014 and confined only to the inclusion of seven mandals of Khammam in Andhra Pradesh.
This was exposed in a sensational revelation by former MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar, who released the Cabinet note of March 1, 2014.
The note clearly says the Manmohan Singh Cabinet discussed the promises made by then Prime Minister including the special category status.
Apart from taking the decision on including seven mandals of Khammam with Andhra Pradesh, the Cabinet also endorsed the decision to grant special category status to AP.
The subsequent draft ordinance has both the points and the issue of special category status was to be referred to the Planning Commission to take appropriate steps.
However, the ordinance did not come into existence as President Pranab Mukherjee kept it in abeyance in the wake of announcement of schedule for Lok Sabha elections.
After Narendra Modi came to power, his government re-examined the ordinance. It could have approved it as it was, but it considered the issue of only Polavaram submergence mandals and conveniently ignored the special category status.
Had it been included in the ordinance, it would have been definitely worked out by the NITI Ayog, which replaced the Planning Commission later.
Ironically, the Modi government kept even Chandrababu Naidu in the dark about the Cabinet note of Manmohan Singh government and the draft ordinance.
In his eagerness to get the seven mandals of Khammam, Naidu did not show interest to know about special category status. However, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu was very much aware of it, but he remained silent.
Criticizing BJP for betraying the people of Andhra Pradesh, Vundavalli questioned the NDA government why it’s not conferring the special status to AP.
“If we get special state status, AP can get several concessions and incentives so that business investments will flow into the state. That’s why we’re asking the Centre for special status. It’s the responsibility of the Centre to announce why it’s not implementing the promise made by the then UPA government, BJP and all political parties,” he said.