In his first intervention in the Rajya Sabha after demitting office, former PM Manmohan Singh urged the Centre to honour the promises on the special category status to Andhra Pradesh that he, as the then PM, had made in Parliament.
“On February 20, 2014, I as the then PM had made six promises on the floor of the House. The then leader of the opposition, now the leader of the House, satisfied with the promises, withdrew all the amendments he had proposed as they agreed to what the government had proposed….In the light of these promises, I urge the Union government to implement that and thereby protect the honour of the august House,” Singh said.
His intervention came as the Opposition and the Centre locked horns on a private member bill moved by Congress member KVP Ramachandra Rao. Decimated in Andhra Pradesh in both assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2014 following the bifurcation of the state, the Congress has been trying to regain its lost ground by raising issues concerning the state. Andhra Pradesh is suffering from a severe cash crunch with the bifurcation leading to depletion of revenues.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi later tweeted, “Modiji a reminder: The decision 2 grant Spl Category Status 2Andhra was taken by the Parl of this country in 2014. Today 5cr ppl of Andhra are watching BJP-TDP betray them”. Finance minister Arun Jaitley raised objections to the bill on the ground that a money bill cannot be introduced in the Upper House as it is “outside the competence” of the House.
He, however, said: “The government is at a very advanced stage in the consultation. The CM of Andhra Pradesh had a meeting with the PM and I am sure the issues would be resolved to the satisfaction of everybody.”