HYDERABAD: Indicating that the TDP is preparing the ground for a direct confrontation with its ally, BJP, in the coming days, party president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday made his displeasure over the Union Budget crystal clear. “I am unable to digest this injustice,” he said, referring to the ‘insignificant’ allocations made to the State in the budget.
Addressing a press conference here after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the budget in Parliament, Naidu, who had been praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the skies till now, came out strongly against him — for the first time since he joined hands with the saffron party last year.
“If promises made by the BJP to AP are not kept, people will lose faith in Modi. I had great hopes on the Union Budget. I have never expected this kind of treatment to AP from the Centre. Surprisingly, there are no allocations for the construction of the State’s new capital!” he said. Recalling that none other than Modi had promised to AP during the general elections last year that he would help the State build a world-class capital, Naidu questioned, “It was a promise made by the Prime Minister... during the elections at the Tirupati public meeting. If the assurance given by the PM is not implemented, who shall we approach?”
“I have appealed to the Centre to grant at least Rs 22,000 crore in the budget for the capital, but there was no allocation in the budget,” he lamented.
Even though the TDP is sharing power with the BJP both at the Centre and in the State, the AP Chief Minister made no secret of his unhappiness and fired salvos at the Union government for “failing to keep promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014”.
Naidu said despite knowing the problems being faced by AP post-bifurcation, the Centre ignored all pleas of the State government, which is ‘highly painful.’
“Is it not the responsibility of the Centre to come to the rescue of AP which is going through the worst financial crisis?,” he fumed. According to Naidu, after the 14th Finance Commission disappointed the State, the State government was expecting a lot from the Union Budget.
“The Centre has clipped AP’s wings and is asking it to fly. I am not asking for any sops, but just asking to implement the promises made to AP in the Reorganisation Act!” he pointed out.
Mentioning that he had visited Delhi seven to eight times and explained to the Prime Minister the State’s financial situation, Naidu remarked, “Still the Centre has not made proper allocations to the cash-starved State. I fail to understand why the Centre ignored our request. I am deeply hurt”.
In the same breath, Naidu said he would once again convey his concerns to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
Asked why the Centre was turning a deaf ear to him, he replied, “I do not understand why the Centre is not considering our request. Is it due to oversight or poor briefing by the officials on the need to grant special category status and other financial incentives to AP? What have the people of AP done to be punished like this?,” he asked.
I am unable to digest this injustice
Prime Minister Modi had time and again promised to help AP build a world class capital. But, not a single rupee was allocated in the budget
How could the Centre allocate Rs 100 crore for the Polavaram irrigation project, which needs a whopping Rs 10,000 crore?
If necessary, we will take opposition parties with us to Delhi to pressurise the Centre Centre should support AP till a level playing field is ensured via-a-vis its neighbouring States
The State is looking for special category status, but the Centre is not considering our request for unknown reasons
‘friendship is different’
Asked whether the insignificant allocations to AP will create differences between TDP and BJP, Chief Minister Naidu replied, “Friendship between the two parties is different and budget allocation is different. Kindly do not mix the two”.