Jagan meets Modi, says ‘can only request’ special category status for AP

Jaganmohan Reddy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets a memento from YSR Congress Party president and AP Chief Minister-designate YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Sunday. PTI Photo

The YSRCP can only request and not ‘demand or command’ special category status Andhra Pradesh, state’s CM-designate Y S Jaganmohan Reddy said Sunday. He was addressing mediapersons after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

It is widely felt that the debt-ridden state could benefit if the Centre granted the special category status. Reddy, whose party stormed to power on Thursday with a landslide victory in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, said he had requested the PM to be ‘magnanimous’ to the people of Andhra Pradesh.

Meets Amit Shah

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The YSRCP chief also met BJP president Amit Shah and sought his support on the issue. “Today, we might not get it (special category status). We have to be at somebody’s mercy but I will remind him (Modi) again and again and someday things will change,” Reddy told reporters after meeting PM Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence. It would have been a ‘wonderful moment’ for the YSRCP had the NDA won only 250 seats but it got 353 seats in the parliamentary election, he said, adding, “So they don’t need us (to form government), they are strong.” “There is very little we can do in demanding and commanding. But yes, we did meet the PM and explained to him why special category status is so important to us,” Reddy said.

Debt situation

The PM’s support is needed to run the state efficiently, he said. “Today, the state’s debt burden is very high. The debt was at ₹97,000 crore when the state was bifurcated. In the past five years, our debt has grown to ₹2.58 lakh crore. Our interest repayment alone is at ₹20,000 crore per annum,” he said. The state’s principal and interest put together amount to ₹40,000 per annum. “This is the kind of situation we are in. We did explain to him that this being the situation, we need a lifeline from you,” he said, adding that the special status is the state’s ‘right.’

Patient hearing

Reddy said he was happy that the PM gave him a patient hearing to him. “He listened to the whole thing and was positive. That’s a good sign. From here, we are hoping that things would come out positively in a better shape,” he said, adding he will continue to press his demands with Modi on the issue of the special category status. “Every time I meet him, I will definitely make it a point to remind him of the issue. Will remind him this was the word given on a floor of Parliament,” he said.

The special category status is a major demand of the YSRCP and Reddy, during his election campaign, had said he would support the party at the national level which promised to grant the status to Andhra Pradesh.

In his meeting with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao Saturday, Reddy said he sought his support on the special status demand in Parliament, and also talked about having friendly ties between neighbouring states to resolve the issues pending after bifurcation. He also said he would complete the Polavaram irrigation project in the state and probe if there’s any scam in it.

He said he would also order an investigation to unearth possible scams in building the state’s new capital Amaravati and into government schemes launched by former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The YSRCP chief said he invited the prime minister and the BJP chief to his swearing-in on May 30 in Vijayawada. The YSRCP chief also interacted with officials at Andhra Bhawan. On Saturday, he was unanimously elected the leader of YSRC legislature party. Reddy’s party has won 151 of the 175 assembly and 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, the elections for which were held on April 11.

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