In a clear indication that according special category status to Andhra Pradesh will not be possible, the Centre today announced a ‘tiny package’ to the state in an attempt to put a lid on the growing resentment among the people.

 The Centre released a grant of ₹1976.50 crore to the state in the backdrop of the all-round criticism from opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha last fortnight when the Congress -sponsored private members’ Bill came up for consideration in the Upper House. 

Following the categorical refusal to accord special status by the Centre, Chief Minister Naidu rushed to the national capital and had a long discussion with PM Modi on the negative fallout of such an unambiguous refusal to accord special status.

Following this meeting, the Centre and TDP leadership started sending out confusing signals about the demand by stating that the Union government would soon announce the decision on special status.

The demand for special status, even though not many are sure of the benefits it would accrue to the people, has become a question of ‘sentiment’ now.

All opposition parties - YSR Congress, Congress, CPM, CPI, and many civil society organisations like Andhra Pradesh Vidyavantula Vedika, Special Status Sadhana Samiti- have successfully driven home the message that special status would alone create a job market for their children in Andhra Pradesh by opening the floodgates to investments.

The resounding success of the recent bandh called by all opposition parties bears testimony to the depth and width the demand has penetrated into the psyche of the Andhra people.

"The Centre and TDP government are again playing politics with the demand. On one side, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified that the Centre had given much more to AP than what it is supposed to get under the special category tag.

“Now, they have changed tack and are assuring people again that the final decision would be announced soon. Their gameplan is to divert the attention of the people from the demand,” said Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy, YSRCP MLA from Nellore. He said the release of a mere ₹1976.50 crore in lieu of special status was not acceptable to them.

Meanwhile, the ministry of finance said that the “special assistance” of ₹1,976.50 crore to the state was part of a fulfilment of its commitment to the people of Andhra Pradesh and to compensate for the financial impact arising out of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.