The demand from Andhra Pradesh for special category status (SCS) is gaining momentum with the same speed as people's hate towards AP Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu. And the reason behind it all is said to be protests fuelled by actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan and YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is looking to resurrect his political career and build on his father's legacy.
Pawan Kalyan spearheads protests
Jana Sena founder-chief Pawan Kalyan has been leading the charge for SCS for Andhra Pradesh, claiming that when the Congress-led UPA-II regime at the Centre bifurcated AP to carve out Telangana in June 2014, most of the resources were awarded to the new state, while the old one was given step-motherly treatment. He has even urged AP politicians to take a page out of the Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu to ask for SCS for the state from the Centre.
Kalyan, whose last film Sardaar Gabbar Singh — based on Salman Khan-starrer Dabangg 2 — was not a commercial success, seems to have lost little by way of influence, with his call for silent protests in AP in demand for special status receiving good response. In fact, other film personalities are also getting involved: Ram Gopal Verma has slammed Mahesh Babu for not supporting Pawan Kalyan, who is working on his next film with director Trivikram and actor Khusbu Sundar.
Jagan Mohan jumps on bandwagon
YSR Congress leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has now started putting more stress on the matter. He managed to hold a sit-down protest at the Visakhapatnam airport after he was refused entry to the city by authorities.
Visakhapatnam, it may be noted, is where most of the protests for special status for AP are taking place. On Thursday, police detained several protesters who were agitating on the issue in the city, even as messages circulated on social media on how much AP had lost to Telangana during the bifurcation, and how much the state would benefit if given special status.