Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of deceit over the special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Azad said, “You (BJP) are deceiving the nation and you have deceived the Parliament decision. This government is deceiving the people of Andhra Pradesh. I take the strong plea on behalf of the opposition that the promises made by the previous government and the promises made by the present government should be fulfilled forthwith.”
He said, “When UPA was in power, the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh had promised to give special status to Andhra Pradesh for a period of five years. However, leaders of the then opposition party, BJP, had opposed the same and asked them to give special status to the state for ten years.
“Now when BJP is in power, they have not fulfilled the promise. I don’t blame the people of Andhra Pradesh. The present government (at the Centre) has to be blamed for the same,” he said.
He also criticised the BJP over the special package issue to Andhra Pradesh.
“In lieu of the special status, this present government has said on a number of occasions that we have a special package for the state of Andhra Pradesh in place of special status. What is the status of that special package? The Centre had promised to give Rs 16,447 crore. However, only Rs 400 crore has been dispersed. BJP is about to complete its five-year term. Nothing has been implemented and this government (Centre) is going before the Supreme Court and saying that we have fulfilled all promises,” Azad said.
The Andhra’s ruling party and Centre have been at loggerheads for past few months over the special status issue.
Equated Andhra Pradesh with a newborn baby, Azad said that the Centre needed to take extra care of the state for its development.
“Knowing the history of the people of Andhra region, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra in particular, they deserve full sympathy – not only sympathy from Parliament or the present administration but sympathy from the entire nation. This whole reorganization of the state has seen a number of changes since 1947 (the year of Independence). They have not been allowed time to resettle and make their own assets,” the Congress leader said.
“The demand of the people of present Andhra Pradesh is as just as was the demand of the Telangana people for a separate state. So, having divided that state into two, we have to ensure that both the states progress and develop. Telangana have enough sources and assets being the capital for quite some time. It has some advantages, which the present Andhra region doesn’t have. It is for the government – the Centre – to support the state government. It’s a newborn state, which requires the same nourishment, the same feeding just like a newborn child requires,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) staged a protest both inside and outside Parliament demanding special category status to Andhra Pradesh and implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.