Chandrababu Naidu Hops On Bicycle To Demand Special Status For Andhra Pradesh

Children holding TDP flags ran along Mr Naidu's cycle as he kick-started the rally demand immediate implementation of all the promises made by the NDA when Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014


Chandrababu Naidu rode a bicycle to the state assembly complex.

Amaravati:  After breaking up with the BJP's national alliance last month over special status for Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu hopped on a bicycle, his party Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) symbol, and led a cycle rally in the state capital region of Amaravati today. He was joined by TDP lawmakers and party supporters in the six-kilometre-long yatra that was held to intensify their protest against the denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Five lawmakers of the YSR Congress Party resigned from the Lok Sabha today to protest the "failure" of the NDA government to fulfil its promise to the state. They submitted their resignation letters to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on the last day of the Budget session.

In a teleconference with TDP legislators, Mr Naidu said, "BJP is running away by repeatedly adjourning the House for these many days. If the parliament is adjourned sine die, MPs must meet the President. BJP is acting on the lines of divide and rule."

Children holding TDP flags ran along Mr Naidu's cycle as he kick-started the rally from Venkatapalem village to the State Secretariat to demand immediate implementation of all the promises made by the NDA when the state of Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. Dr Manmohan Singh-led government had then promised "special status" and a special financial package to the state, partly as compensation for the fact that the prosperous IT hub of Hyderabad would, after 10 years, become the capital of Telangana.

After withdrawing from the alliance agreement, the TDP also tried to bring a no-confidence motion against the government, but it hasn't been taken up due to repeated adjournments in parliament.

The NDA government says that it has already sent about Rs 12,000 crore to Andhra Pradesh, but new rules disallow "special status" sought by states such as Andhra and Bihar. The BJP has also attacked the attacked the Telugu Desam Party chief claiming that most funds released by the central government as special development assistance remain unutilised.

In fact, BJP national president Amit Shah wrote him a nine-page letter in which he said that the centre had supplied thousands of crores to Andhra but there seemed to be no sign of it. It was interpreted as an allegation of corruption.

"Why are you spreading lies?" Mr Naidu shot back.

Assembly elections are due in Andhra Pradesh next year and regional parties in the state, including the YSR Congress, have repeatedly targeted the TDP for being unable to secure a special category status for the state. The tag would have meant a greater infusion of central funds, something that was promised by the centre earlier.

Chandrababu Naidu also said that the BJP was blatantly "promoting" Jaganmohan Reddy and his party, the YSR Congress, which left him with no option but to end the partnership. "Why did I join the BJP, it was in the interest of the state," he said.

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