HYDERABAD:The TDP and the BJP crossed swords Sunday, a day after AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu cried foul over the meagre budgetary allocations to the State. In a sparring match, reminiscent of their bickering over seat-sharing in the run up to the elections last year, the two parties — which share power at the Centre and in the State — pointed fingers at each other with the saffron party giving a point by point rebuttal to Naidu’s accusations and the yellow party squarely blaming its ally for ‘ditching’ the State.
If Naidu’s deputy KE Krishna Murthy wondered whether the BJP was their ally or a rival, his cabinet colleagues Pulla Rao, Ganta Srinivasa Rao and P Sujatha asserted there won’t be any ‘compromise’ till the Centre does justice to the State.
Matching word for word, the BJP leaders hit back in the strongest possible terms. Leading from the front, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu refuted the Chief Minister’s claims of a ‘raw deal’ to the State. “Many leaders, without going into the details of the Budget, are making comments of their choice. Making baseless comments will confuse the people,” he told reporters here. “If we add allocations proposed to AP in the 14th Finance Commission’s report as well as in the Union Budget, we will get a complete picture of what the Centre will give to the State in the next five years,” he said and put the combined figure at a little over `2 lakh crore. “Andhra Pradesh has got a lot of money and that is the assessment of the Central government and the Union Finance Minister is also telling the same,” he added.
On the Chief Minister’s complaint that not a single rupee has been given for the capital city, Venkaiah pointed out that neither the land acquisition process nor the master plan was ready and said that was why funds weren’t allocated. “What is wrong in it?” he questioned and in the same breath, advised the Chief Minister not to air his views in public and meet the Finance Minister instead.
Interestingly, his party colleagues in AP too sharpened their attack on the TDP. BJP’s AP general secretary Shyam Kishore alleged some TDP leaders had celebrated when his party lost the Delhi polls. Amidst this slanging match, Jana Sena founder Pawan Kalyan called on Chandrababu and held talks for over an hour. It is learnt that he offered to convince the Centre to grant more funds to AP. He may meet the PM soon. After the meeting, Naidu said he had sought Pawan’s cooperation in the construction of a world-class capital. His request comes in the wake of the capital region farmers demanding Pawan’s intervention.
Pawan Comes to Naidu’s Rescue
Tollywood star and Jana Sena founder Pawan Kalyan on Sunday met AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu. Sources said he offered to help convince the Centre to grant funds to the State. He is likely to meet PM Modi soon. Naidu later said he had asked Pawan to help build the new capital. Pawan may tour the region to pacify farmers there.
A Storm of Swords