Telugu actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan, who has been raising the issue of Special Category Status (SCS) for Andhra Pradesh, slammed the state government on Friday after it denied permission for a proposed protest on the issue.
Protesters had given a call for a ‘silent beach protest’ on Thursday, planned to be held at Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam. To foil it, police had imposed Section 144 of CrPc in the coastal city, banning any assembly of five or more people in an area.
“You (government) should have given permission to the youth who wanted to do a peaceful protest. They decided it. It was not a political party calling for a protest. They chose January 26 to convey their collective voice to the Centre because people would come forward as it was Republic Day,” Kalyan told reporters in Hyderabad.
The Jan Sena founder, who campaigned for the success of TDP-BJP combine in 2014 elections, has been critical of the NDA government for not giving special category status to AP.
The promise of special category status was made to Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) by former prime minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament when the bill for bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh was passed. The promise was also made by top BJP leaders then.
However, the NDA government announced a package of benefits for the state, stating that special status cannot be given following recommendations of 14th Finance Commission.
Kalyan said he found fault with the package announced by the Centre as he was told by certain experts that there is nothing new in the package.
He was told that the package was actually the share of funds and benefits AP was supposed to get.
Taking exception to the remarks of Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu that special status to AP is a closed chapter, he accused him of not doing enough to get the status.
Kalyan alleged that the NDA government has been “unilateral as seen in issues like Rohith Vemula and demonetisation”.
Alleging that the TDP government has become a “mini-BJP”, Kalyan asked chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to explain why he “compromised” on the special status issue.
He pointed out that his association with TDP-BJP was on people’s issues and asked why he should side with them.
“The common agenda between you and me is to work for people. When that is not happening, why should I side with you. You have to tell people,” he said.