The deadlock over TDP's demand for special category status to Andhra Pradesh continued on Monday, as the meeting between party leaders and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley failed to make a breakthrough.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a partner in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, decided to continue with the protest in Parliament over its demands.
State Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu, who led the TDP delegation, told reporters after the meeting that they stuck to their demand for special status. The party also insisted that the Centre should bridge Rs 16,000-crore revenue deficit and extend industrial incentives at par with other states.
He said Jaitley assured them that he would discuss the issue with other ministers. It was decided to have another meeting. He, however, said the TDP would continue its protest in Parliament.
The MPs of the regional party continued their protest on Monday, the first day of the second leg of the budget session.
Surprisingly, BJP national president Amit Shah did not attend the meeting, which was held at his instance.
He had telephonic talk with TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu last week after the TDP decided to step up its protest. Shah had invited the TDP leaders for talks.
BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit president K. Haribabu, who attended the meeting, said Jaitley assured the TDP delegation that if the Centre could not bridge the state's revenue deficit or could not grant the special status, it would ensure equal benefits.
The TDP has been demanding the Centre to fulfil all commitments made in at the time of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. Naidu had alleged that the Centre's attitude was causing unrest among people.
He had even threatened to move the Supreme Court over the Centre not fulfilling the commitments.
Although the TDP had last year given up its demand of special category status in lieu of the special package announced by Jaitley, in recent days it once again raised the issue.
The party leaders said since Jaitley's promise that the state would get the same financial benefits under the package which it would have got with the special status remained unfulfilled, they were demanding the special status.