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After Centre’s Pondi Special Status promise, demands from AP grows

The demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh is back to the fore again soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its election manifesto for Puducherry released by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman recently, promised special status to the Union territory.
 
The demand for a special status for Andhra Pradesh has been raised by all major political parties in the state since the bifurcation of combined Andhra Pradesh in 2014 — something rejected by the BJP government at the Centre several times.
 
The BJP said it would accord ‘Special Union Territory’ status to Puducherry to increase devolution of funds from 25 per cent to 40 per cent as was done in the case of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure development.
 
The party also promised to revise cost-sharing of projects under centrally sponsored schemes in the ratio of 70 per cent by the central government and 30 per cent by the UT government in place of the current 30:70 formula.
 
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) general secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh wondered why did Centre declare a special status for Andhra Pradesh a closed chapter while promised the same to Puducherry. He demanded YSR Congress party president and chief minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to mount pressure on the Centre for special category status to Andhra Pradesh. 
 
“During the assembly elections in 2019, Jagan vowed to bend the necks of the Centre and secure special status to Andhra. But after coming to power, the chief minister has gone totally silent,” Lokesh said.
 
The special category status to Andhra Pradesh was promised by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on the floor of Rajya Sabha on February 20, 2014, at the time of passage of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, which sought to carve out Telangana from the combined Andhra Pradesh.
 
However, the Narendra Modi government rejected the same on the ground that the 14th finance commission had suggested that no state can be granted a special category status because of the increased devolutions from the Centre. 
 
Going by the Narendra Modi government's word itself, it comes as a wonder as to how the Centre has promised Special Status to Pondicherry just because elections are around the corner! 
 

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