Former BJP chief M Venkaiah Naidu rejects accusations that the party was going back on its support to a separate Telangana state and asserts that Seemandhra region must be adequately compensated.
Naidu, the BJP’s chief negotiator on Telangana issue, told HT in an interview that the government must provide (compensation to Seemandhra) and then divide (Andhra Pradesh). Excerpts:
What is the BJP’s stand on Telangana?
We have categorically stated that we want Telangana. People know that if this government is not able to do it, a future BJP government will create the state. At the same time, we are pressing for an adequate compensation for Seemandhra region to meet its financial liabilities.
After losing revenue surplus Hyderabad, Seemandhra region will be a revenue deficit state with a shortfall of about Rs. 15,000 crore. From day one, rest of Andhra Pradesh will face problem in payment of salary, pension and interest on loans. I told the government to first provide compensation and then divide the state.
What have you told the government during negotiations?
Congress’ Andhra Pradesh chief minister has rejected the bill cleared by the Union cabinet. Congress ministers and MPs are creating ruckus in Parliament. We told government to first put its house in order instead of accusing the BJP.
We told them to understand the grievances of Seemandhra people. In all these years, entire development took place in and around Hyderabad. Centre must lend a helping hand to make Seemandhra people feel that they are not losers. All promises and assurances must be in letter.
Will further delay in creation of the state lead to a more tense situation?
Who created this crisis in the first hand?
The Congress slept on this bill for almost a decade and then woke up just 50 days before the elections. The result is that everybody is posturing to address their constituency. Even the most loyal members of Congress are displaying placards in Parliament.