Sonia writes to PM on special status to AP

HYDERABAD: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately announce special category status to Andhra Pradesh as promised by his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha on February 20, 2014.

 Ms. Gandh sent her missive on February 19, the eve of the first anniversary of the passage of the A. P. Reorganization Act in Parliament that has changed the future of the two Telugu speaking States.This is Ms. Sonia  Gandhi’s second letter to the PM after her first one on June 2 requesting that he fulfill commitments made to the people of AP in letter and spirit.

Copy of Sonia’s letter

 But, she noted, even after eight months after bifurcation, the commitments had not been fulfilled and the special category status announced by Dr. Manmohan Singh not yet secured. She urged the Prime Minister to announce the special status in the President’s address to both Houses of Parliament at the commencement of the ensuing budget session.

 The Congress president also wanted Mr. Modi to see that adequate resources were provided in the Union budget to provide financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh to overcome the severe shortage of revenues and support construction of its new capital. Adequate budget provisions must also be made to various Ministries for implementing the development package committed in the Act.

 Further, Ms. Gandhi reminded the PM to show requisite allocations in the Railway budget to fulfill the commitment relating to the Indian Railways.

 Sonia’s letter may put BJP, TDP in a fix

 The Congress president’s letter is seen as an effort to stem further erosion of the party’s fortunes in Andhra which touched rock-bottom during the May 2014 elections when angry voters rejected the party lock, stock and barrel. Its fortunes have not seen any upswing going by the results of the recent Assembly byelection in Tirupati where its candidate lost her deposit in a virtually two-sided contest.

 Ms. Gandhi is also preparing ground to corner the NDA Government in the ensuing Parliament session for going back on the Dr. Singh’s promises which the BJP had whole-heartedly supported. Such a move would also embarrass the TDP since it can neither afford to oppose the demand nor antagonize, its ally, the BJP by supporting it.

 Political compulsions at the national level have forced the BJP to more or less dump the move to give special status to AP. Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has been dropping hints that the Centre may not implement its decision to give special status to AP because some States, including Bihar which will go to elections in November 2015, were already in the queue with the same demand.

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