Telugu MPs’ tug of war in Rajya Sabha on Special Status to AP

Telugu MPs in Rajya Sabha - Sakshi Post

The Finance Minister however maintained that the special status promise was not in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014

New Delhi: The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s response to the private member bill in the Rajya Sabha about Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh was disrupted twice by ministers from Andhra Pradesh prompting the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha to quip that it was very unusual for other ministers to interrupt a minister’s response on a discussion.

Five Telugu MPs rose to speak in Rajya Sabha on Friday; while four of them from four different parties rallied their demand for the special status, the lone Venkaiah Naidu sought to provide assurance of support, even as he maintained the government’s position.

The YSRCP minister Vijay Sai Reddy rose to his feet saying he wanted to bring two important points to the notice of the Finance Minister. He sought to clarify the position on Article 280 and explained that the directives of the fourteenth Finance Commission were only suggestive and not mandatory in nature.

He also stated that the decision to extend Special Category Status lies only in the hands of the central government and it was the government that had taken decision on this matter in the past, and urged that the centre extend this to Andhra Pradesh as the cabinet itself had approved it in the past.

The Finance Minister however maintained that the special status promise was not in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 but was made by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of the House and the government is now seeing what has to be done.

The TDP Minister Y S Chowdary chipped in during Jaitley’s reply to seek a resolution by the House for time-bound implementation of the promises made by the previous central government. Chowdary held both BJP and Congress equally responsible for the half baked, unscientific and undemocratic bill which led to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

The ministers also reminded the house that both Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu had demanded special status for Andhra Pradesh to be extended to 10 years as against the five years promised by Manmohan Singh.

Participating in the discussion Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu said that the central government has done all that it could for residual Andhra Pradesh and was not running away from its responsibilities.

Earlier CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded the government to state clearly whether it was going to extend the special category status to AP or not. He warned that unless there was clarity on this matter people would revolt, and added that if there were any challenges in according the status then the government should clarify the same.

Senior CPI leader D. Raja quipped that apart from TDP all other parties were fighting for the special category status, and added that the Prime Minister should not back away from his assurance in this regard.

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