An all-party meet was held in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday to highlight the 'injustice' meted out to the state since it was bifurcated in 2014. The meeting which was called by Former MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar, a prominent figure in state politics, was held at Hotel Ilapuram in Vijayawada.
Speaking at the event, Undavalli said that issues pertaining to bifurcation of the state, implementation of the Bifurcation Act and Special Category Status (SCS) were discussed.
"This is just a beginning. We received a great response and discussed many things. The Bifurcation Act is not being implemented properly. We will meet again sometime and chalk out a future course of action," Undavalli said.
Those who attended the meet included actor-politician and Jana Sena party chief Pawan Kalyan, former state Chief Secretary I Y R Krishna Rao, who recently joined the BJP and retired Supreme Court Justice Chelameswar. From the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Minister for Social Welfare Nakka Anand Babu, Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy and AP Planning Board Vice-Chairman C Kutumba Rao were present.
CPI State Secretary K Ramakrishna was also present along with Tulasi Reddy from Congress, and representatives of the AAP.
After the meeting, Undavalli also described how the bifurcation bill was passed in Parliament amid pandemonium, despite massive protests by MPs from Andhra Pradesh.
"We must not forget how cruelly they insulted the state in 2014 which led to the bifurcation. There was unanimity in demanding special status at the meeting. There was some disagreement between BJP's IYR Krishna Rao and TDP about the amount sanctioned by the Centre, but we are still together in the fact that there was injustice," he told reporters.
"This is not to find fault with the Congress or the BJP. The problem is institutional, irrespective of government. We are here to demand our constitutional right," he added.
Undavalli said that it was even more crucial to hold the all-party meet as the state was gearing up for simultaneous Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
"Once election campaigning starts, there will be politics. Each party in the state will accuse the other of misappropriation of funds. But once the election is over in the interest of the state, we must all work together, especially in the Lok Sabha. That is my wish. Otherwise there will be a repeat of what happened in 2014," he said.
"We want to dismiss Delhi's impression that we will forget the constitutional injustice that happened to us. We want to show them that we will unite for the rights of our state," he added.
The former Congress MP also told reporters that the CPM had boycotted the meeting as they refused to share a table with the BJP, while the YSRCP said the same about the TDP. However, he was quick to add that he respected their right to dissent and hoped that they would change their minds in the future.
Somireddy from the TDP, who also spoke, said, "The Centre owes at least Rs 1 lakh crore to the state. There is no ambiguity here. While we may disagree on the exact figure, no one doubts that the amount is roughly close to that."
The Andhra Minister also cited the 20-member Joint Fact-Finding Committee (JFC) constituted by Pawan Kalyan, which had come up with a similar figure.
"It has been four and a half years. When will the Centre give what is due to the state? They should take note of the unscientific bifurcation. There has been injustice to the state. We are only asking for our rightful share," he added.