VIJAYAWADA: WHILE Telangana celebrated its formation day by lighting up Hyderabad and unfurling a triumphal flag, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu of the residual state of Andhra Pradesh marked the occasion with a solemn event at Benz Circle here and administered to the gathering a pledge to rebuild the state from scratch. Christened the Nava Nirmana Deeksha, the event has been Naidu’s way of reminding the people and the Central government of the handicaps clamped upon the state when it was bifurcated in 2014.
Speaking on the occasion, he said normally people would celebrate the formation day of a state, but the people of Andhra Pradesh have been given no such occasion for joy. “This event is a stark reminder of the injustice meted out to the people of Andhra Pradesh, who were left with no economic resources, only debts,” he said to the assembly of a few thousand, mostly TDP party workers, officers and his retinue of ministers. “If anyone asks why we are not celebrating, the answer should be obvious. There is nothing to be celebrated about.”
And he added: “Yet.”
It was an hour-long speech on a day that was cooler than usual as a result of overnight showers. The better part of the chief minister’s speech was on the theme of injustice done to the state as a result of “hasty and unscientific” bifurcation done “behind the closed doors of the Parliament.”
He added: “For 60 years we contributed to Hyderabad, but today we have been denied the fruits of that development. Today, we are left with no capital, no industries and no revenue sources. We have to start afresh again and build the state from scratch. We will do it and the injustice meted to us should spur us to do even better,” he said.
Naidu then segued to lionizing himself:.“In a time of crisis, the people of the state have reposed faith in me and I will see their faith in me is justified,” he said.
Explaining how he started administering the state by living in a bus, bereft of a Secretariat or even an office for himself, he said things are, however, about to changewith a dream capital called Amaravati to be build in the days ahead.
“We have already achieved some progress in bettering our per capita income and the growth rate, but they are not enough. The state is still placed last in south Indiawhen it comes to development,” he said and made a case for hand holding by the Centre.
Naidu stressed the need for helpful measures from the Centre such as special category status, reimbursement of the revenue deficit and other assurances given in the AP Reorganisation Act and in other pledges in Parliament.
Citing the examples of Japan, Singapore and Israel which overcame adverse situations and emerged as global powers, Naidu asked the people of the state to strive for development. He said his immediate target was to place the state among top three in the country by 2022, and the best in the country by 2029 and the best in the world by 2050.
The first two deadlines are familiar to those who heard Naidu’s Nava Nirmana Deeksha speech last year, but the last is an added ambition.