Special Correspondent

GULBARGA: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday failed to respond to the plea for amendment of Article 371 of the Constitution to provide special status to the Hyderabad Karnataka region. He was also silent on the demand for a special financial package for the region to overcome its backwardness.

Speaker after speaker including Union Labour and Employment Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh and Animal Husbandry Minister Revu Naik Belamagi made fervent pleas to the Minister to concede to the amendment of the article, but Mr. Mukherjee chose not to deal with the issues in his speech.

Mr. Mukherjee, in his 40-minute address, did not respond to the demands and later to questions posed at a brief interaction with presspersons. He only said certain procedures needed to be followed for achievement of these objectives and did not elaborate further. On the special financial package sought by Mr. Kharge, Mr. Mukherjee said, “This demand has come to my notice now… somebody has also submitted a memorandum”.