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Special Status

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Why can’t the bifurcation act be amended once again to include the Special Status for AP?

Why can’t the bifurcation act be amended once again to include the Special Status for AP?

Parliament was a witness to an ugly political blame game over the special status to the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. In a rare display of political initiative, Sonia Gandhi led the Congress in demanding justice to Andhra Pradesh. One would certainly appreciate Andhra Pradesh Congress in ensuring that a person no less than Sonia Gandhi raises voice for Andhra Pradesh. In a similar show of solidarity, it would be wise if former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leads the demand for justice to Andhra Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha. Singh was the author of the Special Status promise on the floor of the House. But this appreciation for Congress cannot be without some perplexing questions for which the party would find no answers.

Venkaiah Naidu rightly remembered during the debate that Special Status was not part of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act. No one would have even an iota of doubt that the question of Special Status would have certainly formed part of the Act if Sonia Gandhi wished so. Not just the Special Status, many of the concerns of AP and even Telangana were the causality of political expediency of not just the ruling party but even BJP, the then major opposition party and now the ruling party at the Centre, without whose support the bifurcation bill would not have been enacted. As per the Article 4 of the Constitution, any act of state bifurcation under Article 3 of the Constitution prevails over all the other provisions and acts. So-called procedural impediments like the approval of Planning Commission and National Development Council (NDC) would have not come in the way if Special Status was part of the act.

The BJP leaders were quick to point out this lapse of UPA led by Sonia Gandhi. But, they also need to explain to the nation why they extended unconditional support to the bifurcation act when it is ambiguous on assurances to Andhra Pradesh. Thus both Congress and BJP should share the responsibility for travesty of justice to Andhra Pradesh. Even the TDP and the YSR Congress did not bother to propose an amendment to the act to include the Special Status.

Both were busy taking an ambivalent stand to suit their interests in both regions of the combined State. Now the same parties are indulging in empty rhetoric and mutual blame game. Civil society should question this political fraud perpetrated on the people of Andhra Pradesh even today. When Polavaram submergence mandals can be transferred to Andhra Pradesh through an amendment to the State Reorganisation Act and when seats in the AP Legislative Council can be increased through yet an another amendment to the act, why can’t the act be amended once again to include the Special Status to AP? The political parties need to answer for their eerie silence on this simple question.

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