Hyderabad/Chennai/Vijayawada: The important film and business fraternities in the neighbouring states of Telangana and Tamil Nadu are supporting Andhra Pradesh’s fight to obtain Special Category Status which is being denied by the Centre. Tamil Nadu film fraternity also has a piece of advice for Andhra Pradesh, to build a momentum and uprising on the lines of Jallikattu movement to achieve special category status.
Tollywood too strongly came in support of the cause. People from Telugu film fraternity too joined the chorus demanding special category status. Ace director Koratala Siva in a tweet reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his promise made four years ago and said he was terribly disappointed with the way the Union government is looking at the whole issue. “I was dejected to see the tone and the way Arun Jaitley was speaking,” he tweeted.
“I am a responsible citizen and a taxpayer. Moreover, commenting on such a delicate issue is my natural reaction. I was dejected to see the tone and the way Arun Jaitley was speaking; it clearly reflects lack of responsibility. I have been active on social issues as well, so whatever affects my state’s environment – be it political or economic scenario naturally affects me. I speak my heart out and I stand by my words. And down the line, I am going to further raise and voice my opinions,” Siva tweeted. Actor Prakash Raj said it was “unfair” to go back on a promise. A new capital city needs funds for infrastructure, he said, and added that “I am talking as a responsible citizen of India and I don’t belong to any political party.”
Veteran actor Mohan Babu’s tweet asked “why this step-motherly treatment to Andhra Pradesh? What did AP do wrong? What’s going on with Special Status? Even when Telangana is supporting Special Status for AP, is it just the sentiment of one state? @arunjaitley (sic)” Asked if the Movie Artistes Association (MAA) supported AP’s demand, president Sivaji Raja said, “We are supporting Andhra Pradesh for the special category status issue and also supporting the Telangana state. The Central government has failed in implementing the promises made to both the states and we will support both the states.”
The Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce president P. Kiran said he is “discussing how to take this issue and go forward with MAA and other sectors.” Director Tammareddy Bharadwaja said that top Telugu stars and celebrities had supported the Jallikattu movement in Tamil Nadu and now it’s time for them to show support for Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile the members of the film fraternity in Tamil Nadu’s film capital Kollywood are being cagey about commenting on Andhra Pradesh seeking special category status and more funding from the Centre.
Prominent members of the fraternity, who backed the spontaneous Jallikattu agitation two years ago in Chennai, said that a similar uprising may have helped the neighbouring state in its formative state to make a more impactful impression on the Centre for funding. A prominent businessman from Hyderabad, who has recently shifted to Vijayawada, supports special category status because with it comes “tax incentives and exemptions, which will be a game changer for the state of Andhra Pradesh. The state of AP is yet to recover from the wounds of bifurcation. Many investments will pour in due to tax incentives, which will trigger the economy and provide many jobs”.
It is known that a set of industrialists from Tamil Nadu have quietly encouraged the Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu in his quest for special status and are supporting his decision to pull his ministers out of the Union cabinet. A number of businessmen from Chennai have been operating in AP for years and a few big projects are also in the offing, including an international class business university in Sri City, which is not far from Chennai. Meanwhile, the funding for new entrants into politics like Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth has been promised and even made in some cases as industrialists and NRIs are hedging their bets for the future. And Chennai industry sources are also revealing a stronger Andhra connect if the climate for investment does not improve in Tamil Nadu.