Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will observe a day-long fast here on Friday to demand Special Category Status (SCS) to the state. It is notable that Friday is also Naidu’s birthday. Naidu will sit on hunger strike at Indira Gandhi Stadium from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm to pressurise the Centre to grant the SCS to Andhra Pradesh.
The hunger strike will be called ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ or ‘Fight for Justice’. The strategy for the hunger strike was finalised by the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet, chaired by Naidu, on Monday.
Thirteen ministers of Naidu’s cabinet will also organise simultaneous hunger strikes in the districts for which they are in-charge ministers. Remaining ministers will take part in the hunger strike along with the Chief Minister. The Andhra Pradesh politicians have been protesting demanding SCS to Andhra Pradesh.
The Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Centre have been at the loggerheads ever since the announcement of 2018-19 Union Budget. The TDP alleged that the Centre ignored the demand of ‘Special Category Status’ to Andhra Pradesh in the budget, while the latter brushed aside the charges.
Naidu has been calling for the special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Asserting his demand, the TDP had quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) last month. The TDP’s departure came after two of its ministers resigned from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Cabinet on March 8.
Union Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Y.S. Chowdary submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Modi on the directions of Naidu.
The Centre pays 90 per cent of the funds required in a centrally-sponsored scheme to special category status category states as against 60 per cent in case of normal category states, while the remaining funds are provided by the state governments.
The SCS was first accorded in 1969 to Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland. Over the years, eight more states were added to the list – Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and, finally, in 2010, Uttarakhand.