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AP shuts down in push for special category status

india Updated: Aug 11, 2015 23:39 IST
Prasad Nichenametla
Prasad Nichenametla
Hindustan Times
Andhra Pradesh

YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at a dharna in New Delhi against the delay in granting special status to Andhra Pradesh. (PTI File Photo)

Andhra Pradesh was shut down on Tuesday in protest against the Centre’s delay over conferring special category status to the state.

Rallies and roadblocks were held with schools and commercial establishments closed across the 13 districts of the state, following the bandh call given by CPI and action committees for special status. The call was supported by Congress, YSRCP and others, except the ruling TDP.

The death by self-immolation of Muni Kamakoti, 40, a Congress worker on Sunday gave an impetus to the movement.

Koti doused himself with kerosene and set himself ablaze on Saturday during a party meeting for special status in Tirupati.

A special status for the residuary state for five years was an assurance given in February 2014 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament during the passage of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization bill. The plan found support of BJP, the then opposition.

However, in power, the Modi government has been non-committal on the promise made by its predecessor, given the complexities, fiscal implications and similar demands from states like Bihar, Odisha.

AP chief minister Naidu, who was earlier vocal on the demand for special status in his public meetings, is now seen as softening his stand, apparently after the Centre dropped hints that special status might be difficult to come by.

This apparent shift led to YSRCP and Congress to step up their attack, accusing the Modi-Naidu duo as deceiving the people of the state after coming to power.