Claiming that the Centre was "not interested" in according special category status to Andhra Pradesh, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said pressure must be exerted on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue as "he only understands pressure".
"Now what you all and we all need to do is put pressure on the Prime Minister... He only understands pressure. Congress had managed to put pressure on him over Land Bill and the Budget after which it became a pro-farmer budget. For two years, they did not take care of interests of farmers, that they are dying didn't matter, that they are committing suicide it also doesn't matter, but Congress party exerted pressure and budget became pro-farmer," Gandhi told partymen from Andhra Pradesh.
Insisting that only Congress was leading the fight for Andhra Pradesh and not Telugu Desam Party or Jaganmohan Reddy's YSRCP, he said the Centre is "not interested" in the development of the state.
"Unfortunately, the government of the day is not interested in supporting the aspirations of people of Andhra Pradesh. I have visited AP many a time to fight for special status, I have mentioned Polavaram as well but the government of the day is not interested," he said.
Taking a dig at Modi, Gandhi said the Prime Minister only likes to organise events and everybody knows that. "Sometime the PM doesn't realise that these special events might insult people," he said.
Talking to reporters later, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused Congress of "misleading" people on the issue. He said the Centre has referred the matter of special category status to Niti Aayog.
"It is me who had raised in Rajya Sabha the issue of special status. I had said that if the then (UPA) government wanted to give special status, why it did not put the matter in the bill," he said.
He charged the opposition party with shedding "crocodile tears." "After failing in their duty, they are now criticising us. The AP Reorganisation Act does not talk about special category status," he said.
Congress has given a notice for adjournment motion in Lok Sabha to discuss the issue.