Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan, who is presently on a five-day tour of Andhra Pradesh, spoke about the demand of special status to the state on Saturday, and drew parallels with the Telangana agitation for a separate state.
"Many people are asking me why I didn't fight for special status. I always ask, are the people ready to sacrifice for it? In Telangana, so many youngsters wanted a state, which is why they got it," the Jana Sena party chief told a gathering of his supporters.
"I can shout, and do everything in my capacity, but the people have to be determined in their demand. Is the TDP ready? Is the YSRCP ready? Are you, the public ready?" he asked the crowd, amid loud cheers.
Pawan was on a day-long visit to Ongole, and had earlier met with victims of the Vijayawada boat tragedy, which had killed 21 tourists in November.
During one of the events, he also spoke about how BJP President Amit Shah had asked him to merge Jana Sena with the national party.
â€œI respectfully said no to the request of BJP National President Amit Shah to join their party. Different sorts of favours were offered to me but it would be political opportunism had I taken advantage of the same," Pawan was quoted as saying.
â€˜Special category statusâ€™ is a classification given by the Centre to assist in development of those states that face geographical & socio-economic disadvantages like hilly terrains, strategic international borders, tribal population, economic & infrastructural backwardness and non-viable state finances.
The demand to identify Andhra Pradesh as a Special Category State gained momentum after the state split into two. Indiaâ€™s 29th state, Telangana was formed which also took away APâ€™s capital, Hyderabad.
Though AP got to share Hyderabad as the capital with Telangana for 10 years, it now has the burden to build its own capital at par with Hyderabad and provide facilities that will attract investments, to keep the state going. Andhra Pradesh thus had lost the revenue from Hyderabad and has the additional burden.
The then ruling Congress promised AP SCS for five years, while the BJP in opposition also joined the chorus and demanded that the period be extended to 10 years instead.
However after the BJP government came to power, the NDA government had announced a special financial package for the development of Andhra Pradesh. This has further angered the people of the state.