BJP challenges opposition to debate over special category status to Andhra

New Delhi : Accusing the opposition parties for criticising the union government over special category status to Andhra Pradesh despite its announcement of a special economic package, the BJP on Sunday challenged them for an open debate on the issue.

The BJP also noted that there was no provision for special status under the 14th Finance Commission and the economic package will address the concerns over revenue deficit.

Support TwoCircles

“The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted the 14th Finance Commission report in January 2014 and he knew about the contents of it and limitations that special category status can not be given,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said at a press conference here.

“A new formula for distribution of central taxes was prepared in the report,” he added.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on Wednesday announced a special economic package for Andhra Pradesh, clarifying that the state will get monetary advantage equivalent to what it would have got if it was accorded the special category status.

Singh, who is also incharge of Andhra Pradesh, also said that Finance Commission report was binding and was implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after coming to power in 2014.

He said that the Finance Commission had raised the issue of ‘special aid’ in the report on the basis of which the Modi government had prepared a comprehensive ‘special economic package’ plan for Andhra Pradesh.

The BJP leader also took on Jana Sena party chief and popular Telugu film actor Pawan Kalyan for attacking Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu over the issue and terming the special package as a “rotten laddu”.

“There are two rotten laddus in Andhra. The Congress and the YSR Congress. Now the third is Jan Sena of Pawan Kalyan, which is trying to join them,” Singh said, condemning Kalyan for his personal attack on Naidu.

“I invite anyone of them including Pawan Kalyan, for a public debate that why special status can’t be given to Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

Kalyan has also slammed the BJP for going back on its word to accord special status to Andhra and asked the state’s ruling Telugu Desam Party, a part of the NDA, if it will accept a “rotten laddu”.