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Rahul Gandhi promises to give Andhra special status if elected in 2019  

Congress president Rahul Gandhi backed the demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh, saying if opposition was united, they could force the BJP-led Centre to grant the status.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2018 18:39 IST
Agencies, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Andhra Pradesh,TDP
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, centre, talks to party leaders during a protest outside Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday.(AP)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi paid a surprise visit to a protest by MPs from Andhra Pradesh in New Delhi on Tuesday, backing the state’s demand for a central government package.

“We will give special category status to Andhra Pradesh. It’s the first thing we will do after coming to power in 2019,” he told a group of party workers who protested at Jantar Mantar.

“I am confident that if we stand together we will convince the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that what is due to the people of Andhra Pradesh should be given to them,” he added.

He later tweeted: “It is my belief that if the opposition stands united on this issue, we can force the BJP Govt to do justice to the people of Andhra.”

Aam Aadmi Party legislator Somnath Bharti, who also joined the protest, said he had come to extend support on “behalf” of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“I have come with the Delhi chief minister’s message of support. The AAP will support the Congress wherever they raise this demand, be it inside or outside Parliament,” he said.

Andhra chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has been upset over the Centre’s alleged failure to grant the special package.

Ties between the BJP and the TDP have come under severe strain after the southern party accused the Centre of making “insufficient” allocations for Andhra Pradesh in the Budget 2018-19.

Naidu has said he is ready to move a no-confidence motion against the central government with the support of other parties to get “justice” for the southern state. However, he said such a move will be the “last resort”.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 15:39 IST