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Andhra special status: Chandrababu Naidu says BJP alliance made no difference to TDP in 2014

BJP’s Daggubati Purandeswari said Chandrababu Naidu is raising the issue of special status for political gains only, adding that the CM had himself said there was no additional benefit from it, compared to the special package.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 20:52 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh special status,Andhra specila status,Chandrababu Naidu
TDP MP Ashok Gajapathi Raju protests with party collagues in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue at Parliament House demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday engaged in a war of words, heating up the political atmosphere in Andhra Pradesh and in the TDP-NDA alliance at the Centre.

N Chandrababu Naidu, TDP president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister, who held a teleconference with party MPs in New Delhi and other senior leaders of the party on Friday, is learnt to have said that the TDP had gained little benefit in the 2014 elections by aligning with the BJP.

“Before the 2014 elections, the TDP achieved a massive victory in the local body elections. There was no difference in the percentage of voting for the TDP in assembly elections compared to local body elections. As such, there was no additional benefit in terms of voting for the TDP because of the alliance with the BJP,” a party source said, quoting Naidu.

The TDP chief said the party had an alliance with the BJP and later joined the NDA government only with an intention to bring maximum benefits to the state. Naidu told MPs that the party would have to continue in the NDA for some more time in order to wrap up some crucial issues pending with the Centre, especially with regard to the release of funds for Polavaram project.

Naidu also constituted a strategy committee comprising state ministers Y Ramakrishnudu, Kala Venkat Rao, S Chandramohan Reddy, K Achen Naidu, and K Srinivasulu, besides legislative council chief whip P Kesav, media adviser Parakala Prabhakar, and Andhra state planning board vice-chairman Ch Kutumba Rao, to work out the party strategy to be adopted in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the BJP reacted strongly to Naidu’s comments against the NDA government. Daggubati Purandeswari, former minister at the Centre and a senior BJP leader, found fault with Naidu for trying to shift the blame to the Centre for not fulfilling the promises made in the bifurcation act.

“Naidu himself said many times that there was no additional benefit from the special category status, compared to the special package. Now, he is raising the issue of the special status for political gains,” Purandeswari said in Vijayawada on Friday.

She alleged that the Naidu government had not submitted utilisation certificates for funds released by the Centre for several projects. “Where are the accounts for the money released for the capital Amaravati? Why did the underground drainage project in Vijayawada and Guntur come to a halt?” she asked.

Within hours of the two BJP ministers – Kamineni Srinivas and P Manikyala Rao – resigning on Thursday from the Naidu cabinet, the BJP leaders in Andhra decided to undertake field inspections of all central projects in the state to expose the alleged hollowness in the TDP’s charges against the NDA.

As a part of that, a delegation of BJP leaders, including Srinivas and Rao, visited the construction site of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Mangalagiri near Amaravati. Stating that work there was on at a brisk pace, Rao said it would not have been possible had the Centre not released funds on time. He said if at all there was any delay in the construction of AIIMS, it was due to a lapse on the part of the Naidu government in handing over the land.

In the coming days, the delegation will also inspect the progress of work in other central institutions such as the National Institute of technology (NIT) at Tadepalligudem in West Godavari district, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Tirupati, and the Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies at Nuzvid in Krishna district.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 18:22 IST