VIJAYAWADA: Not making any effort to hide his frustration over the unhelpful attitude of the Centre, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu on Friday asked the BJP why it supported division of the state when it cannot help the residual state of AP with funds.
The chief minister, reacting to the way the BJP approached the issue of special category status for Andhra Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha, said that union finance minister Arun Jaitely's comments hurt him a lot. He took exception to Jaitely saying that the Centre cannot go out of the way and help AP just because the Telugu Desam Party was the BJP's ally.
"I am not seeking any favours from the Centre. I want the Centre to give us what is due to us. Everyone agrees that we have been humiliated. We have been meted out gross injustice. There is no way humiliation can be undone. But at least undo injustice," Naidu said, recalling how Jaitely sought to describe the 14th Finance Commission's funding to the state as a gesture of help. "We got Rs.1.69 lakh crore under the distribution formula by the Finance Commission. But it was not special funding. Other states too got more or less similar resources," he pointed out at a news conference here.
But Naidu did not appear to be in a hurry to snap his relations with the BJP. "The TDP will remain a political ally of the BJP in the interests of the people. Even though the BJP does not need our support at the Centre and we do not need its support in the state. At both places, we are partners in government. This all in the interest of the people," the chief minister said.
Naidu said he was thinking seriously as to what should be done in future to make the state get what is due to it. "But I am not for confrontation. I cannot act irresponsibly. If I do, nothing will happen to me. But the state will suffer," he said and added that he would explore all possibilities as to how to bring pressure on the Centre for handholding help till such time AP is on par with all its neighbouring states.
He wanted the Centre to immediately constitute an all-party committee to ensure that justice is done to the state. "Today CPM member Sitaram Yechuri offered to act as a mediator between the Centre and the state. I welcome it," the chief minister said.
Naidu was highly critical of the Congress for the way it tried to derive political mileage out of the debate in the Rajya Sabha. "They fought for special category status but did not seek any reply on why the Centre was dragging its feet in fulfilling promises made in the bifurcation act. After introducing a private member's bill for special category status, why did the BJP suddenly settle for a short discussion in the Rajya Sabha," Naidu asked.
Naidu dwelt at length on how the state suffered in the wake of bifurcation
like losing revenue to the tune of Rs 16,000 crore, funding of Amaravati and
Polavaram in fits and starts, providing most unattractive incentives to
industries, inordinate delay in starting educational and other institutions
as promised in the bifurcation act. "It is the responsibility of all the
parties to help the state come up. They all supported bifurcation. It is now
their turn to come our rescue and fight on our behalf," Naidu said.