Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Monday began a day-long fast at in New Delhi seeking special category status for the state as well as fulfilment of assurances given during its bifurcation. The Chief Minister paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat before heading to Andhra Pradesh Bhavan to observe the fast. He will submit a memorandum to the President Tuesday. Leaders of several Opposition parties are expected to extend solidarity to Naidu’s protest in Delhi.
The TDP parted ways with the BJP, its ally of four years, in March 2018, with Naidu citing denial of Special Category Status to the state — as promised under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 — as the reason. Since then, Naidu has emerged as one of the leading faces of the Opposition. Naidu has said that it is a matter of self-respect of Andhraites and that the Centre should fulfill the assurances made during the bifurcation of the state.
Naidu has claimed that there was anger among the people as Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not visit the long-pending demand of special category status during his visit to Guntur on Sunday.
Naidu had staged an indefinite fast at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in October 2013, demanding that if a separate state is carved out of then unified Andhra Pradesh, both should get equal justice. He was forcibly shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital the fifth day after his health deteriorated.
In February 2014, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced in the Rajya Sabha that special category status would be extended to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh comprising 10 districts, including four districts in Rayalaseema and three districts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, for a period of five years.
Last year, the chief minister had observed fast Vijayawada on his birthday on April 20 demanding special status for the state. The TDP quit the NDA in March last year. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, responding to Naidu’s demand for special status, had then said that such a category did exist when the state was bifurcated in 2014 but after the 14th Finance Commission’s award, such treatment was “constitutionally” restricted to just the North Eastern and three hill states, which includes Jammu and Kashmir.
The TDP had also moved a 'no-confidence motion' in the Monsoon session of Parliament in July 2018, which was defeated.