The situation in Andhra Pradesh looks like there is nothing that would satisfy the people other than the special category status (SCS). The mood among the people, cutting across the class lines, is in favour of the SCS demand. The only thing that the people know about the SCS benefits is the tax exemption given to the industrialists who would come and start industries here. That would generate employment opportunities.
The issue of employment opportunities – both direct and indirect – is what all the SCS means to the people. It was the political parties which have raised these hopes among the people in the last elections and during the first two years of the bifurcation. The ruling TDP had made the Assembly pass resolution in favour of the SCS twice and both the times Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had made lengthy speeches that went deep into the minds of the people. There is the Opposition YSR Congress which too had favoured and popularised the SCS benefits.
Though the TDP and Chandrababu Naidu have given up the SCS demand subsequently in favour of the special package offered by the BJP government in Delhi, people did not buy the argument. The issue went to its heights after the Union budget remained silent on the benefits to the State, even the special package that was promised. This had given an edge to the Opposition parties in the State to raise a banner of revolt against the ruling combine – TDP and BJP.
The TDP which had compromised for the package had now to go back on its plans and raise the demand for SCS succumbing to the popular pressure. The mood of the people across the 13 districts is for the SCS and there appears no compromise among them, even if the TDP and BJP compromise on it for any reason. It would be suicidal for the TDP to accept the alternative package for the SCS and the TDP chief had already realised it. It is for this reason he is also beating the drum for the SCS.
The TDP and the YSR Congress are holding protests in the national capital seeking the SCS now. The Parliament sessions are disrupted now by both the parties and the YSR Congress is ahead with its two programmes – resignation of the MPs and tabling of the no confidence motion in Parliament. The two programmes have kept the YSR Congress ahead of other parties in the State and people are looking at the YSR Congress to take lead. The compromise politics brought forward by the Jana Sena of Pawan Kalyan are also not welcomed by the people. It is to be seen how the TDP and BJP would handle the issue.
If the TDP and BJP think that they can satisfy the people with an alternative package amount, that would be a futile exercise given the mood of the people. The package had not gone well into the people as the BJP government at the Centre did not honour its own demand in the last wo years, after it was promised. So, the people are not ready to buy their lies once again.