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Jagan Mohan ‘requests’ PM for special aid for Andhra Pradesh

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 27, 2019, 3:24 am IST
Updated : May 27, 2019, 3:24 am IST

The YSRCP chief said he had invited the PM and the BJP chief to his swearing-in on May 30 in Vijayawada.

PM Narendra Modi is greated by YSR Congress chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister-designate Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in New Delhi on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)
 PM Narendra Modi is greated by YSR Congress chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister-designate Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in New Delhi on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh chief minister-designate Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday, said his party could only “request” and not “demand or command” the special category status that will be a lifeline for the state which faces a debt of Rs 2.58 lakh crores.

Mr Reddy, whose YSR Congress Party stormed to power on Thursday with a landslide win in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, said he requested the Prime Minister to be “magnanimous” towards the people of Andhra Pradesh. He also met BJP president Amit Shah and asked for 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,” Mr Reddy told reporters after meeting Mr 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 Prime Minister and explained to him why the special category status is so important for us,” Mr Reddy said. He explained to the PM that the special category status was a “lifeline” for the debt-ridden state as Andhra Pradesh needs funds. and the PM’s support is needed to run the state efficiently.

“Today, the state’s debt burden is very high. The debt was at Rs 97,000 crores when the state was bifurcated. In the last five years, our debt has swelled up to Rs 2.58 lakh crores. Our interest repayment alone is Rs 20,000 crores per annum,” he said.

“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 this was the state’s “right” and if he stops fighting for it, no one else will take interest.

Mr Reddy said he was happy the Prime Minister gave him a patient hearing. “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 Mr Modi on the issue.

“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 the floor of Parliament,” he said.

The special category status is a major demand of the YSRCP and Mr Reddy, during his election campaign, had said he would support the party at the national level which promises to grant this status to Andhra Pradesh. Mr Reddy also mentioned “he met the BJP president, the second-most powerful person in the country, to seek his support for the state’s key demands.”

In his meeting with Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Saturday, Mr Reddy said he had 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 the bifurcation.

The YSRCP chief said he had invited the PM and the BJP chief to his swearing-in on May 30 in Vijayawada. The YSRCP chief also interacted with officials at Andhra Bhavan here. Mr Reddy’s party 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.

Tags: jagan mohan reddy, narendra modi
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi