TDP to protest Centre's stand on special status to Andhra

Stating that special status is a matter of life and death for Andhra Pradesh, the TDP on Sunday decided to launch protests in phases to bring pressure on the central government to fulfil its commitment.

Unhappy with the Centre's stand that the state can't be accorded special status, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a partner in the coalition, decided that its MPs will stage protests in Parliament premises on Monday.

The party leaders will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking special status for the state.

TDP president and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said depending on Modi's response, the party would chalk out its action plan.

Naidu said he would also seek an appointment with Modi.

The TDP chief was addressing a news conference here after a meeting with party MPs and senior leaders.

Stating that the issue of special status was linked to the future of five crore people of the state, Naidu said Finance Minister Arun Jaitely's statement in Parliament was not acceptable.

Jaitely said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday that special status would not be granted to Andhra Pradesh but the Centre would "handhold" the state until it became economically stable.

Naidu reiterated that the Centre should fulfil all commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

Naidu said he was requesting Modi to give two hours so that he could explain to him the injustice done to the state in these two years, the commitments made in the Reorganisation Act and to discuss special status and other issues.

He will also brief Modi on where Andhra stands compared to neighbouring states.

"Depending on his (Modi's) response, the party will chalk out its action plan in tune with the people's sentiments," Naidu said while evading direct reply if TDP would pull out of the coalition.

During the three-hour meeting, Naidu reportedly pulled up party MPs for being silent when Jaitely made the statement.

Central ministers Ashok Gajapati Raju and Y.S. Chowdary told Naidu that they were ready to quit their posts as the state's interests were paramount for them.

The TDP chief said people of Andhra Pradesh were not happy over the state's division. He said the division did injustice and insult to Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu reminded the BJP that its members in Parliament had insisted on a special status to Andhra Pradesh during the debate in Parliament.

"It's unfortunate now they are saying they can't give special status on the pretext of the recommendations by the Finance Commission," he said.