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Federal front talks: Naidu-Opposition meet in Delhi on Tuesday

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is scheduled to visit New Delhi for two days to garner support to pressure the Centre to fulfil promises, including granting special category status to the state.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2018 22:50 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu and Saubhadra Chatterji
N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh insists he is not looking for a role in national politics.
N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh insists he is not looking for a role in national politics.(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu will visit Delhi on Tuesday to interact with leaders from opposition parties, less than a week after his West Bengal counterpart camped in the national capital for talks on a possible federal front.

Ahead of his visit, Naidu told his party MPs during a teleconference that he had no interest in national politics and his focus was on securing maximum benefits for the state.

The regional leaders, whom Naidu has invited for a meal in Delhi’s Andhra Bhawan, expect to talk politics with him. “We are certainly not going to discuss Indian cricket with him. We hope to see Naidu’s response on the proposal of a federal front,” said a leader on the condition of anonymity.

Naidu is scheduled to spend a few hours in the Central Hall of Parliament and interact with MPs to explain the injustice meted out to the state in the budget. He will discuss the broken promises of the NDA with regard to granting special category status to the state, besides non-implementation of assurances given in the AP Reorganisation Act.

The YSR Congress party, however, suspected that Naidu was coming to Delhi to look for a new alliance partner since the TDP has parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “That he is coming to Delhi to fight for the interests of the state is humbug. Now that he has become isolated in state politics, he is trying for support from other parties,” YSRC Rajya Sabha member V Vijaya Sai Reddy said in Delhi.

Meanwhile, ahead of the meeting with the Andhra Pradesh CM, the Trinamool Congress accused the Centre of going against the federal structure of the Constitution in financial devolution.

The party said it would try to unite the Opposition against the 15th Finance Commission as many states not ruled by the BJP were “losing out”.

“This commission is anti-federal. States such as Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu are being penalised, while Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are being awarded. [TMC chief] Mamata Banerjee is reaching out to other parties... Next Tuesday she will raise the issue with the DMK leadership in Chennai,” Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’ Brien said.

Trinamool MPs staged protests inside the Parliament building complex against the proposed 76% stake sale in Air India. The party claimed the government was trying to avoid Parliament to sell the stakes in the airline.