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Will continue to demand special category status: Andhra CM

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday asserted that he would continue to demand a special category status for the state from the Centre, as was promised by it in Parliament, and also defended the three-capitals move.

Speaking at the 74th Independence Day celebrations here, he said that though the Modi government was not dependant on other political parties for survival, he was determined to get the special category status.

“We will continue to demand from the Centre to grant special category status with the confidence that if not now, at least in the future it will have a change of heart,” he said.

The Chief Minister hoisted the national flag and reviewed a colorful parade at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium here.

Jagan Mohan Reddy, in his speech, defended the move to have three state capitals, saying the government was working towards “decentralization” to ensure the development of all regions in Andhra Pradesh.

He said that his government had initiated the process of decentralization after realizing that only by ensuring equal development of all three regions, Andhra Pradesh could avoid the wounds of bifurcation in the future.

He said that two Bills were made into Acts to develop three capitals for equitable development. “Very soon we will lay the foundation stone for Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital,” he said.

Jagan defended his government’s move to develop three capitals amid continuing protest by farmers in Amaravati, who are demanding that Amaravati be retained as the only state capital.

On petitions filed by the farmers, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday extended till August 27 the status quo on three capitals.

The farmers have challenged the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Repeat Act, 2020.

Under the Andhra decentralization law, the state government seeks to shift key capital functions from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.

Jagan listed out the steps taken by his government during the last one year for the all-round development and welfare of all sections of society in the state.

He said that his government was also committed to ensuring social justice. Towards this end, he said, 60 percent representation has been provided to the scheduled castes and tribes, backward classes, minorities, and other weaker sections in the state Cabinet.

The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief said that every scheme announced by his government would yield the desired results in 10-15 years. “These schemes are being implemented for a socio-economic transformation of the state and they should not be seen as mere election schemes,” he said.

Jagan also defended his government’s scheme to introduce English as the medium of instruction in government schools. Slamming the critics, he said some people did not want the children of the poor to study in English medium schools.

The Chief Minister took the salute and reviewed the parade. The tableaux of the Health Department highlighting the services rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic was a special attraction on the occasion.

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