Naidu's lack of special clout is showing
After failing to secure special category status for Andhra Pradesh, the chief minister thanks the Centre for giving a package and consoles himself saying if a thorn falls on a banana leaf or a banana leaf falls on a thorn, it’s the banana leaf that is damaged
HYDERABAD: : Summing up his position vis-a-vis the Centre on getting special category status for Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said: “I am not in a position to demand. I take whatever the Centre gives. If a thorn falls on a banana leaf or a banana leaf falls on a thorn, it’s the banana leaf that is damaged, right?”
That Naidu can’t stand up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ask him to honour all commitments made during the bifurcation is clear because he has impossible projects before him—the `26,000-crore Polavaram project to be completed before 2018 and Amaravati which he wants to build on a par with Singapore.
Till 2004, Naidu used to have influence at the Centre as the NDA was dependent on his support. But the NDA doesn’t need him now and therefore he has no hold over it. He readily accepted the two Cabinet berths given to his party so that he could manage funds for the state much more effectively than by staying outside.
Naidu initially wanted to barter special category status for a liberal package. But, with the Opposition stoking pro-status flames, Naidu was also forced to pitch for the status lest he be portrayed as one sacrificing it. He knows he doesn’t have many options except to be nice to the Centre and take full advantage of his proximity with it for getting funds for the state, creating an atmosphere for investments and ensuring that bifurcation promises are kept. On another front, Naidu also has to wage another battle with his arch-enemy Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy who is trying to capitalise on his “inability” in getting special status for the state. Jagan has been hurling expletives at Naidu for surrendering his bargaining power to the BJP for his own safety given his alleged involvement in the cash-for-vote scam that rocked the Telangana Legislative Council elections last year.
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And exactly at a time when the things were getting too hot for Naidu, Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan appeared on the scene hitting out at the Centre for denying the status. Even his critics admit that it was only because of Kalyan’s public meeting at Kakinada last week that the Centre rustled up a package for the state, which fell flat with no one expressing any satisfaction over it. When Naidu said he found nothing wrong in the actor taking to streets, the YSRC repeated what it had been saying all along: Kalyan’s show was sponsored by the chief minister. But Naidu does not utter a harsh word at the Centre.