If there is one leader who has been true to his word, who has been consistently championing the cause of special category status to Andhra Pradesh from the time that the undivided state was hastily bifurcated, it is the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly and YSRCP president, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. He has walked the talk on this issue which has now become a burning topic across the country and not just Andhra Pradesh.
Right after the state was divided, YS Jagan has repeatedly pointed out that SCS would power development at a tremendous pace and bring benefits to the state through a host of tax incentives, employment generation and Central assistance, among other things. He pointed out that Andhra Pradesh had lost out in terms of revenue, in the process of bifurcation and needed a fillip from the Centre through SCS.
Where was Chandrababu’s focus, meanwhile? He was busy bragging about building a world-class capital of the kind that Japan or Singapore had seen. Chandrababu was busy fighting to get the Polavaram project to Andhra Pradesh when it was actually the responsibility of the Centre to complete the project as per the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act. He turned Amaravati into a massive real estate scam. The astronomical proportions it acquired made it the Mother of all scams in the history of Andhra Pradesh.
YS Jagan, on the other hand, constantly reminded the people of Andhra Pradesh that special category status alone could salvage the state from the economic doldrums it found itself in. He said that there was no other solution to the economic crisis which faced the state. Chandrababu Naidu, on the other hand, kept harping on the fact that SCS was no Sanjeevini or magic cure. He said that the special package given by the Centre to Andhra Pradesh made up for all the benefits that the state would gain through SCS, and more, in fact. In this fashion he led the people of the state down the garden path.
In all his public meetings and rallies during the course of Praja Sankalpa Yatra, YS Jagan’s mass contact program, he has been enlightening the people of the state on the benefits of special category status. He has acted on his promise on more than one occasion by announcing that YSRCP MPs would resign from the Lok Sabha on the last day of the budget session if the no-confidence motion against the NDA government was not taken up. Sure enough, true to their word, the MPs of YSRCP resigned. They went on an indefinite hunger strike in the national capital demanding Special Category Status to AP.
Yesterday, on Monday, April 16, the YSRCP supported a bandh call across Andhra Pradesh given by the Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Committee or Special Category Status Committee. The party cadre took active part in protests and demonstrations across the state along with leaders of left parties social activists and other groups. In every village and town of Andhra Pradesh, YSRCP workers and leaders were in the forefront of the protest. This is not surprising because this has been the pattern of struggle for SCS over the last four years. YS Jagan has spearheaded the flight for SCS. Oddly enough, Chandrababu Naidu has woken up only over the last few weeks and is now trying to take credit for the movement. He has a different problem on hand which is far more complex. His claims ring hollow with the people and he has been trying every trick in the book to convince them without success.
YS Jagan, on the other hand, has been transparent in his fight for special category status all along. He has been steadfast and consistent, clear and unwavering. He has walked the talk on the subject and has remained true to his word, from raising issue in the state assembly repeatedly, to telling people in public meetings and rallies, to getting his MPs to move a no-trust vote in Parliament and later resign from the Lok Sabha and sit on an indefinite protest fast for SCS to AP. There has been no ambiguity in his approach, not a shred of doubt on his sincerity. The people of the state now have a clear choice when it comes to the hustings—a leader who is consistent steadfast, sincere and committed and one who has made more U-turns than one can imagine over the last four years.