Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to have assured Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu that he would consider granting special status to the state, when the latter called on him in New Delhi on Friday afternoon. The CM had a 40-minute meeting with the PM where they discussed the boiling situation in AP over the sensitive issue of special status.
After listening to the CM expressing his anguish over the tense situation in 13 districts of AP where people think that special status alone would solve their problems, the PM is learnt to have remarked: “Your problem is my problem.” This, the CM, thinks is a clear indication that PM Modi is open to granting special status to AP soon, sources said.
The PM’s response came after Naidu made it clear that “nothing short of a special status would satisfy the people in the state”. Naidu expressed his unhappiness over the BJP statement in Rajya Sabha last Friday ruling out the possibility of granting special status in view of the limits imposed by the 14th Finance Commission’s report.
Naidu went to Delhi to invite VVIPs to the upcoming Pushkarams to river Krishna from 12 to 23 August. The AP government is making grand arrangements for the Pushkarams, a once in a 12-year event at the holy river, in Vijayawada. Naidu called on President Pranab Mukherjee, the PM, Supreme Court Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and several other Union ministers.
Naidu was accompanied by Union ministers P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Sujana Chowdary and several MPs who sought a separate appointment with the PM to submit a memorandum on the special status issue. After Naidu presented the PM with a shawl, invitation to the Pushkaram and prasad from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams and talked for a while, the MPs joined them and presented the memorandum.
Naidu apprised the PM of the prevailing situation in AP which is being rocked by a spate of bandh calls and other forms of agitation by the opposition YSR Congress, Congress and the Left parties over the special status issue. “I request you to take a quick decision on this, before the situation slips out of our hands,” the CM is believed to have told the PM, according to an MP who was present at the meeting.
Naidu had a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday when the latter discussed scope of other measures to bail AP out of its financial difficulties. But the CM made it clear that the people were not in a mood to settle for anything other than special status. The FM suggested that the CM should take up the matter with the PM on Friday.
Naidu intensely lobbied with the PM and FM on Friday against the backdrop of Congress Rajya Sabha member K. V. P. Ramachandra Rao’s private member’s Bill on the same issue being referred to the Lok Sabha Speaker to decide whether or not it is a money bill. Jaitley argued that as it was a money bill, that the RS had no right to vote on it as insisted by the Congress members.
Naidu, who addressed a media conference at Vijayawada after returning from Delhi, criticised both the BJP and Congress for their “narrow politics” over the special status issue. He said that the Centre might annoucne some measures in the current session of Parliament next week.