N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (AP,) held a one day protest, on the 11th of February, against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government.
The Andhra Pradesh Government spent a huge amount of Rs. 10 crores on this protest, known as the ‘Dharma Parota Deeksha.’
The State Government hired two special trains worth Rs. 1.12 crores, which started from Anantapur and Srikakulam respectively. The trains carried the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members, the members of non governmental organisations (NGOs) and others to join the protest.
The Government allocated the amount, on the 6th of February, and issued a Budget Release Order (BRO) for the same. In the issued statement, an amount of Rs. 8 crores was allocated for the State’s functions and only Rs. 2 crores were given for the protest.
Out of the Rs. 2 crores, the General Administration Department of the Andhra Pradesh Government issued Rs. 1.12 crores, Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs.1.3 lakhs respectively for three bills. The amount was spent on the food and accommodation for the general public and VIPs who were a part of the protests, whereas the leftover amount of Rs. 77 lakhs was reserved for any final pending bills.
The agenda behind Chandrababu Naidu’s protest was demanding the granting of Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh, which the Central Government denied.
The State is demanding the SCS since 2014 as per the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, after Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into the State of Andhra Pradesh and the State of Telangana.
The protests were widely supported by anti BJP parties such as the Indian National Congress (INC,) the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP.)
The BJP members called the protest as a campaign stunt ahead of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, scheduled between April and May 2019. The State will contest 175 Assembly seats. The major parties contesting are the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP,) the TDP and the JanaSena Party.
Stay tuned for further updates about the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections.