Azad defends special category status for Seemandhra

Senior Congress leader and Union health minister Gulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday strongly defended the Centre’s decision to award special category status to Seemandhra while carving out the new state of Telengana from the undivided Andhra Pradesh.

 “The case of other states demanding the special category status can not be compared with Seemandhra. The state will be losing its capital city. Therefore, how can it be compared with other states. Seemandhra has been given special category status under some special circumstances”, Azad who was in charge of AICC’s Andhra Pradesh affairs some time back said in an exclusive interview to a local Odia news channel. Significantly, Azad’s remarks in the Odisha capital came on the day the ruling regional outfit in the eastern state, the Biju Janata Dal(BJD) was holding demonstrations in all the district headquarters towns protesting the Centre’s decision.

The BJD has been demanding special category status for Odisha since long. It had also held a protest demonstration in the front of Raj Bhawan here last Monday.

Several senior leaders of the party courted arrest while trying to break the police cordon to march towards the Governor’s house.

The Union minister’s remarks confirming that the special category state status has already been given to Seemandhra turned out to be a major embarrassment for a few state Congress leaders who had recently insisted that the southern state had not been given the exclusive status.

“Seemandhra has not been awarded the status of a special category state. It has only been given some special grants”, the state Congress leaders had claimed while charging the BJD of misleading the people.

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