Congress chief Rahul Gandhi visits the home of late former Andhra CM Damodaram Sanjivayya in Kurnool on Tuesday. Photo: PTI.
Hyderabad:Andhra Pradesh will be given special category status (SCS) if the Congress comes to power in the 2019 elections, party president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday.
This has been a major issue for the state given that following the bifurcation of united Andhra, the residual state lost a large part of its revenue with Hyderabad being named as the capital of Telangana.
Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the latter did not take even a single step towards fulfilling promises made to the state before its bifurcation in 2014.
“I am not in the habit of making false promises and I am not going to come here like Narendra Modi and lie to you. It is our commitment to the people of Andhra Pradesh, the first thing we will do is give SCS. This is not a gift, but a debt the Prime Minister owes. He cannot make a promise to a state and break it,” said Gandhi at a public meeting in Kurnool district towards the end of his one-day tour.
“Modi has made many false promises since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led centre came to power in 2014. When he does not give the people of Andhra Pradesh their right, he is disrespecting the people. He made many promises after 2014, like giving ₹15 lakh in each bank account and two crore jobs for youngsters.”
The Congress president’s statements on SCS reflect the current political scenario in Andhra Pradesh, where the issue has taken centre-stage, especially after it became the main demand by all political parties following the announcement of the Union budget in February. The centre had a few years ago said that SCS cannot be given and had announced a special package instead in its place that the ruling Telugu Desam Party accepted. However, the clamour for SCS continued to grow.
Gandhi alleged that many other promises have remained unfulfilled. “An iron industry in Kadapa, a new railway zone for the state, international airports, 12 national education institutions like IIT and IIMs, were promised. It was not just something that was announced. It was said in Parliament,” he said.
Gandhi also attacked Union finance minister Arun Jaitley for allowing liquor baron Vijay Mallya to leave the country. “A thief comes to the finance minister, he has stolen ₹9,000 crore and tells the minister that he is running away. The whole country knows Vijay Mallya is a thief,” he said.
He asked why Modi has not said anything on the issue, and said the prime minister should have at least removed Jaitley from the cabinet.