Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ready to change its decision on according Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh in order to get the YSR Congress into its fold.
According to sources, the BJP has sent feelers to the YSRC indicating that it is ready to fulfil the YSRC’s demand on SCS for AP. As the prospect of a hung Parliament looms, both major political parties, the BJP and the Congress, are trying to woo the regional party’s support.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government did not agree to grant SCS to AP even though the ruling Telugu Desam in the state was a partner in the NDA for four years.
In the last five years, the opposition YSRC has stepped up the pressure on the Central government on the SCS issue. As a final attempt, YSRC MPs resigned on the SCS issue.
AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in the beginning demanded SCS and later accepted a ‘special financial package’ in place of the SCS.
Seeing that this did not go down well with the people of AP, Mr Naidu changed his stand and demanded SCS. The TD then went to the extent withdrawing from the NDA.
Now, the BJP is looking for the support of regional parties that are not part of the NDA. AP has 25 Lok Sabha seats and the YSRC expects to win 20. In the event of a hung Parliament, and the YSRC winning those 20 Lok Sabha seats, its support will be crucial in the formation of a government at the Centre by any party.
In Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is also demanding SCS after cyclone Fani caused much damage. Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha seats and in the last general election, the Biju Janata Dal headed by Mr Patnaik won 20 seats. Mr Patnaik is confident of retaining power in the Odisha Assembly and parliamentary elections. He may make granting SCS to Odisha a condition if the BJP wants his support.
YSRC chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has openly announced that he will support at the Centre whichever party grants SCS to AP. If the BJP agrees to give SCS to AP and Odisha, it will get the support of around 40 MPs from the two states.
If the BJP-led NDA grants SCS to AP, the YSRC will have another political advantage as this move will further damage the TD chief politically. The BJP and the YSRC will blame Mr Naidu for having compromised on SCS and failed to get the special status.
YSRC sources said that a cautious Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy will not open his mouth on any political issue until the election results are out.
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