It seems pretty clear to all and sundry that a special status cannot be given to the residual state of Andhra Pradesh. Instead, the Central government is doling out funds for all kinds of projects and activities.
But when there is an irksome opposition in the form of YSR Congress Party, even the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has to take a posture to show the denizens of the state that the latter is also making efforts to get special status to Andhra Pradesh.
BJP national secretary and its state party affairs in-charge Siddharth Nath Singh has made the Centre's view on the issue clear when he said, “Andhra Pradesh is a special state for the BJP, but it would not be granted a special category status.”
There cannot be a more conclusive remark than this, but the Opposition has decided to play up the issue.
According to Singh, no state could be given special status as per the Niti-Aayog report and the 14th Finance Commission's recommendation. Hence the Centre was taking special steps to develop Andhra Pradesh, he assured the state government.
This is now being given a political twist because Chief Minsiter N. Chandrababu Naidu is visiting Delhi on May 17. Political pundits claim that the stand the BJP has taken on the special status issue will act as a hindrance to the BJP-TDP tie-up in AP.
The Centre has promised to bear the entire cost of the Polavaram project even though its actual share was 70 per cent.It has has taken the initiative to merge seven mandals into AP as part of its commitment to complete the lifeline project.
Nearly Rs 1.43 lakh crore has been allotted to AP, with roads and infrastructure projects being allotted Rs 65,000 crore. About Rs 6,400 crore has been released under various projects. Besides, the Centre has promised a "revenue deficit grant" of Rs 22,112 crore.
"Of this, the Centre has released Rs 7,020 crore. This is outside the 14th Finance Commission grants, the special assistance and Reorganisation Act," the BJP leader added.
"I have visited New Delhi 20-30 times in the last two years and every time I take up the issue with the prime minister and other union ministers," Naidu has said recently.