The issue of Special Category Status rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday with the YSR Congress, main opposition party, insisting on a debate, even as it called for a bandh on Saturday to protest the denial of the coveted status to the State. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a special financial package to the state on Wednesday night but opposition parties denounced the largesse as a great betrayal.
Political parties and student organisations on Thursday hit the roads across the state holding 'rasta rokos`, rallies and burning the effigies of the Centre to protest against the denial of the special category status to AP. The protesters laid siege to Central government offices and largely directed their ire at the BJP and the TDP for "deceiving" the state.
The main opposition, YSR Congress, and Left parties gave a call for state bandh on Sa turday. "Special status is our right and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is not the sole representative of the people of the state. Naidu welcoming Union finance minister Arun Jaitley's statement, which lacks the special status issue, is unpardonable. It is detrimental to the future of the yo uth and their employment opportunities," YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy told media in Hyderabad.
APCC chief N Raghuveera Reddy appealed to people to block national highways on Saturday. The TDP-BJP combine was on the defensive. While Chandrababu Naidu said he would not compromise on the special category status and the state government would continue its fight with the Centre, senior BJP leader and Union minister Venkaiah Naidu gave a long list of central government schemes being implemented in AP.
He found fault with the Opposition for taking to the streets.The BJP-led NDA government completed just two years in office and it had launched a number of development projects in AP, he said.
The proceedings in the AP assembly were stalled and the House had to be adjourned abruptly for the day as the Opposition demanded that the special package issue be discussed. With YSRCP members rushing to the well of the House and surrounding the speaker's podium, the Assembly was adjourned twice. Rubbing salt to the wounds, the central government did not come out with the details and quantum of the special package on Thursday.
It simply reiterated the statement made by Jaitley on Wednesday night. This has further angered the protesters. Students took out huge rallies denouncing the Centre over the alleged raw deal to AP .They burnt effigies of the central government at some places. In a novel protest in Nellore, students begged on the road demanding SCS for AP.
Rallies and protest marches were held in Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole, Tenali, Eluru, Nellore, Srikalahasti, Chittoor, Tirupati and Anantapur, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Srikakulam, Rajahmundry , Kurnool and Vizianagaram. Vijayawada Ratepayers' Association and AP Rythu Sangham (APRS) extended their support to the state bandh.
Tension prevailed in Tirupati when police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the CPI, CPM and YSRCP workers, who tried to prevent the staff from entering BSNL office in the temple town. Student Federation of India (SFI) state secretary S Noor Mohammed and All India Students Federation (AISF) secretary Viswanath deplored the TDP government for welcoming the Centre's decision.