The Chief Minister presided over the all-party meeting held in the Secretariat on Tuesday. Members of many political parties including CPI, CPI(M), Loksatta, AP Congress Committee, Revolutionist Socialist Party, AIFB and Republic Party of India, journalists, trade unions and associations of government employees attended the meeting and expressed their support and solidarity with the state government in its fight for the promises assured by the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister discussed the provisions by the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Rajya Sabha on February 20 and BJP President Amit Shah’s letter. He described in detail, from the promise of the Special Category Status to all the follow-up visits that ensued.
He said that after the 14th Finance Commission declared that the Special Category Status was not to be given to any more states, the Centre assured that a Special package will be provided to Andhra Pradesh, which will provide the financial assistance equivalent to that of the Special Category Status.
Polavaram, the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh, was to be declared a National Project. The Act promised the development of a number of educational and other institutions. It also promised a steel plant, a greenfield petrochemical industry, a port and a railway zone, among others.
He spoke about the 29 visits to Delhi, which were not fruitful in any manner. “We are only asking for what is promised to us in the Act and the assurances given to us by the Centre. That includes the Special Category status, the full compensation for the revenue deficit of the first year, the railway zone, speedy completion of Polavaram project and the rapid establishment of various institutions promised in the Act. We are asking for backward areas assistance on the lines of KBK, for a steel plant, a greenfield oil industry and a port.”
He read out the current status of all of these provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and explained to the parties about the injustice to the 5 crore people of Andhra Pradesh.
All parties agreed that the Centre has not fulfilled its promises to the State of AP, and have promised to help strengthen the protest led by the Naidu government. The issue has still not been discussed in Lok Sabha, and the Centre has been trying to delay the no-confidence motion, said Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
“This is about the rights of our people; our self-respect”, he said. It has been decided that up to April 6, black badges will be used and worn in the state as a sign of protest against the Centre. The Chief Minister said that in the next all-party meeting, students and more employees to join the discussion, and invited other political parties who could not make it for the meeting on Tuesday.
The Chief Minister emphasised that the protest should be peaceful, yet strong. “My main concern in this fight for justice is that violence should be prevented”, he said. “Conduct awareness programmes, include more people, and let them identify with the struggle as much as possible.”
Three parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Jana Sena and YSR Congress Party, did not attend the meeting.