Venkaiah Blames UPA for making Special Status a Big Issue

HYDERABAD: Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu today squarely blamed the Congress and the erstwhile UPA Government for the present controversy surrounding the granting of special status to Andhra Pradesh.

AP Reorganization Act was introduced in Parliament during the UPA regime last year for carving out a separate Telangana State. An assurance was made to grant a special status to Andhra Pradesh keeping in view its financial crunch.

As a matter of fact, as Naidu had insisted that AP should be granted special status, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to the same. However, after the BJP-led NDA came to power at the center, the special status issue continues to remain only on paper. Surprisingly, Naidu, who mooted the demand in Parliament when the Reorganization Act was taken up, even after becoming a member of the Narendra Modi Cabinet, seemed to be shying away in this matter.

While the special status issue seemed to be slowly snowballing into a major controversy with the commencement of indefinite fast by film actor and BJP supporter Shivaji, the Congress too tried to fish in the troubled waters by launching a scathing attack on the BJP for going back in implementing the assurances made in the Reorganization Act.

Reacting sharply to the criticism of the Congress over the special status, Naidu tried to wriggle out of a tricky situation by putting the onus on the Congress and the then UPA Government.

If the Congress and the UPA government had enacted a law in this regard, the issue would have been resolved long back, Naidu said. He also accused the Congress leaders of not raising their voice in support when he had insisted for a special status.“Thus, these Congress leaders have no moral right to criticize the BJP in this regard”, he observed and appealed to the opposition not to politicize the issue.

Naidu further said he was discussing the issue with the Union Home and Finance Ministries in this regard to resolve at the earliest. With regards to the deficit budget of the AP State, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission are being reviewed to find ways and means to ensure that the State would come out of the financial crunch.

The issue of setting up a separate High Court for Telangana State was also under active consideration of the Union government, and hence, there was no need for creating a fuss on this aspect, he observed. (NSS)

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