For the upcoming Puducherry elections, the BJP party in its manifesto, released by the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaraman, promised to grant the ‘special category status to the union territory. This announcement by the BJP for Puducherry led to new talks on the aspects of revival of the demand for ‘special category status for Andhra Pradesh, which has been ignored since the bifurcation of the state.
The demand for Special Category Status has been one of the major concerns of the people of the state since the bifurcation of the state. The Special Category Status was promised by the UPA II government led by then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, in Rajya Sabha, at the time of bifurcation, to help put the state on a firmer footing. A special category status was sought because Andhra Pradesh was at a disadvantage since it lost a significant amount of revenue as a result of Hyderabad going into Telangana. A special category status would get Andhra Pradesh special benefits which would attract more investment and hence the state would revive its economy. Given that, during the 2014-19 tenure of TDP government led by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had called up for massive investment plans in the state but the situation got changed after Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy led YSRCP came into power after the 2019 elections.
As part of its campaign for the 2019 elections, the YSRCP had extensively campaigned and promised that they would pressurize the Union Government to grant special category status to the state if they got into power. The YSRCP won 22 Lok Sabha seats and the state elections, but Andhra Pradesh is nowhere close to receiving its Special Category Status. The ruling party fails to address this major concern of the people of Andhra Pradesh, let alone resolve it.
In 2018, TDP led by N. Chandrababu Naidu quit the NDA alliance as a protest against the Center’s refusal to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Naidu even held a hunger strike in the national capital city, Delhi gathering massive support from all the major opposition parties in 2019. And now in 2021, Andhra Pradesh is yet to receive its Special Category Status. As part of her campaign for the upcoming Tirupati parliamentary by-polls, TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi promised to address the importance of ‘Special Category Status’ for Andhra Pradesh, unlike the YSRCP MPs. While addressing people during the election campaign, she questioned even after having 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha, Jagan failed to stand up to his promises. TDP general secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh also questioned why the Centre declared a special status for Andhra Pradesh a closed chapter when the same was promised for Puducherry