The Congress party in Andhra Pradesh launched its statewide bus yatra on Tuesday with the promise that if voted to power at the Centre it would accord Special Category Status (SCS) to the state. Former Kerala Chief Minister and in-charge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh Oommen Chandy flagged off the 'Pratyeka Hoda Bharosa Praja Yatra' at Nelakantapuram village in Anantapur district.
Stating that the special status is the right of the people of Andhra Pradesh, he said the Congress party, if voted to power at the Centre in the coming elections, would fulfil the promise made by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament during the discussion on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2014.
He alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) betrayed the people over the issue of SCS and other commitments made to Andhra Pradesh.
State Congress chief N. Raghuveera Reddy is leading the bus yatra which will cover all 13 districts before concluding at Srikakulam on March 3.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Cabinet Minister D K Shivakumar and other party leaders were present at the launch of the yatra.
Simultaneous elections to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and the Lok Sabha are due in April-May this year.
In January, Oommen Chandy had said that the Congress had decided to contest all 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats. The decision meant that there would be no alliance of Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh. The two parties had jointly contested recent Assembly elections in Telangana but faced a crushing defeat.
When asked at the time if the party would find candidates to contest the elections, Chandy claimed that many people were ready to contest.
"I cannot say. People will decide," he said when asked as to how many seats Congress would win.
In 2014, Congress had drawn a blank in both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The party, however, believes that the situation had now changed and people of Andhra Pradesh have full faith in Congress President Rahul Gandhi's promise to give special category status to the State.