Andhra Pradesh erupted in anger on Thursday after the Centre rejected the state’s demand for special category status to compensate for loss of revenue following the creation of Telangana last year.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a special financial package to the state on Wednesday night but opposition parties denounced the largesse as a great betrayal.
The main Opposition – YSR Congress -- supported by the Congress and the Left besides various organisations, called for a state shutdown on September 10. Protest rallies and demonstrations were held across the state on Thursday.
Popular film star and Jana Sena party founder Pavan Kalyan decided to go ahead with his rally to protect the “self-respect” of Andhra people, at Kakinada in East Godavari district on Friday.
The finance ministry did not give a detailed statement on the quantum of financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh. Sources, however, said the package was to the tune of Rs 1.50 lakh crore.
“The finer details of financial package are still being worked out,” chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said.
The YSR Congress upped the ante against the Naidu government by stalling proceedings of the state assembly on Thursday and didn’t allow the chief minister to make a statement on the package.
Led by party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the party MLAs came to the assembly wearing black dresses and demanded a debate on the issue.
“Naidu’s attitude is unpardonable. He should immediately resign from his post and withdraw his party from the NDA. The denial of special status is detrimental to the future of the youth and their employment opportunities,” Jagan said.
State Congress president N Raghuveera Reddy alleged that the BJP and TDP betrayed the people of Andhra by promising much and delivering nothing.
Protest rallies were taken out and dharnas held all over the state. Activists of the YSRC and the Left staged demonstrations at offices of BSNL, post offices, bus stations and railway stations.
At several places, students forced educational institutions to close down. In Anantapur, police arrested hundreds of college students.