CM Chandrababu Naidu had initially pressed for the SCS, but seems to have gone off the boil in seeking it.

Congress YSRCP blame CM Naidu for failure to get special status vow to keep fightingBy arrangement
news Politics Monday, November 20, 2017 - 18:49

Newly bifurcated state Andhra Pradesh's demand for 'Special Category Status' (SCS) seems to be rapidly gaining momentum leading up to the 2019 general elections.  

Pratyeka Hoda Sadana Samithi (Committee for Special Category Status) comprising the Left parties of CPI, CPI (M), Intellectuals Forum, Loksatta has given a call for "Chalo Assembly". The main opposition party- YSRCP and Congress, have also supported the call given by the Samithi and participated in a big way across the state, despite arrests and detentions.

History

The Fifth Finance Commission introduced SCS in 1969 giving Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Nagaland additional central assistance and tax concessions.  

With time, the number of SCS states has risen to 11. 

‘Special category status’ 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.

In 2016, the NDA government had announced  a special financial package for the development of Andhra Pradesh, along with the required funding for the Pollavaram irrigation project, instead of the promised special category status.

While the opposition leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is on his state-wide Padayatra, winter assembly sessions have been going on since the second week of this month inside an almost empty House, with the opposition staying away.

M Nageshwar Rao,(CPI) Organising Secretary of Pratyeka Hoda Sadana Samithi while speaking to TNM said, " We have never gone back from the cause (demand) but the Centre promised it and then did not give it. They (Union government) even went to the extent of saying that they will cancel SCS given to other states to mollify us but they have now extended SCS to those states for another 10 years."

He added "Even Chandrababu is to blame as he didn't do enough for getting SCS despite being an ally of the ruling NDA.”

Criticising the forcible detention of activists and student leaders, he said, "He can't quash the people’s aspirations with such illegal arrests. The movement has not died down and will carry on till SCS is obtained.”

CM Chandrababu Naidu who had initially pressed for the SCS, seems to have gone off the boil in seeking it. In January this year, he said, "What is the need for an SCS movement when the Centre has announced a special financial package and assured to extend all benefits that would have accrued through SCS. Why should we fight for just the name – SCS," The New Indian Express reported.

Much like the Left parties, the Congress has chosen to attack both the allies over non-granting of SCS.

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson, Kolanukonda Shivaji said, "The duo (Chandrababu Naidu and Narendra Modi) had given promises before elections, they have cheated the people of the state."

Going on to criticise CM Naidu, he said, "What has he done? Why is he silent on the issue? How can they say there is no gravity in the movement when people are out on the roads?”

He also questioned, "Why did both leaders (Naidu-Modi) fail to review the Bifurcation Act under the supervision of the Cabinet committee?

Political observers feel that opposition parties will definitely try to highlight the drawbacks of the government, and especially when it is such a big cause (SCS), they will try to draw political mileage from it.  

Senior journalist M Nageshwar, said, "They (YSRCP) will take it as an opportunity to hold their ground. Political causes are not occasional and they will have several issues to point out - for sure SCS can be a core issue.”

Speaking to TNM, ex-MLA and prominent YSRCP leader Malladi Vishnu said, "It is a clear failure of Chandrababu's government. YSRCP had never backed off from the demand of SCS and we will fight till it materialises."

Asked if YSRCP is soft in criticising the BJP-led union government, which technically has the powers to grant the SCS, he said, "TDP leaders should have come for an open debate on this instead of making such loose statements. Aren't TDP's candidates in the Union cabinet? Aren't they in touch with the Union government? Why can't they pressurise the Centre for the deal, which they had promised before elections?"

If the SCS row is an indication of it being an agenda in the upcoming 2019 general elections, Vishnu said, "Our leader is strongly demanding SCS and we will approach the elections with SCS being one of the main issues."

 

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