Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday made a dramatic appearance at a protest being staged by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in New Delhi and backed its demand for the Central government's promised special status, following the state's division.
“Our stance is very clear. We are in favour of special category status for Andhra Pradesh and the first thing we will do when we come to power in 2019, is give special category status to the state. I’m confident that if we stand together, we will convince the Centre and PM Narendra Modi,” he said, while sharing a stage with the protesting TDP leaders.
"What is due to the people of Andhra Pradesh should be given to them, at once," he added.
Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by other senior leaders of the Congress including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge.
The TDP is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and has been upset over the Central government's failure to grant the special status.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Tuesday amid protests, as TDP MPs repeatedly stormed the well with their demand, while TRS MPs from Telangana also stormed the well demanding that the Constitution must be amended so that states must be able to decide reservations in jobs and education.
As the Lok Sabha was adjourned for a brief period first, TDP MPs walked to the Gandhi Statue in Parliament, where they were chanting ‘We want justice’.
They even held placards that read ‘Save Andhra Pradesh’, ‘We want steel plant at Kadapa’, ‘Implement AP Reorganisation Act Commitments Announce Railway Zone’, ‘Follow Alliance Dharma’, ‘We Demand Special Status for Andhra Pradesh State’ and ‘Keep your promises’.
TDP MPs including Jayadev Galla, K Ram Mohan Naidu, Murali Mohan and Thota Narsimhulu were present. KVP Ramachandra Rao, the lone Congress MP from the state, was also seen standing along with the TDP MPs.
The TDP has been demanding the Centre to fulfil all commitments made in at the time of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
Ever since the Union Budget was released, Andhra CM Naidu has been upping the ante over 'injustice' to his state in and said that he was even ready to move a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government, as a last resort.
Meanwhile, the main Opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, the YSRCP, said that their MPs would resign from the Lok Sabha on April 6 if the state is not accorded special status by April 5.