Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday dismissed Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah’s letter, saying it was “full of false information”.
Shah, in his letter to Naidu, said that the Telugu Desam Party’s decision to quit the National Democratic Alliance was unfortunate and unilateral and will be construed “solely guided by political considerations instead of developmental concerns of Andhra Pradesh”. Shah said the Narendra Modi-led government “has left no stone unturned in ensuring the growth and prosperity of Andhra Pradesh”.
“Amit Shah in his letter says Centre gave many funds to the state and that we didn’t utilise them,” Naidu said. “They are trying to say that the Andhra Pradesh government is incapable. Our government has good gross domestic product figures, agriculture and has received many national awards. That is our capability. Why are you spreading lies?”
He said Andhra Pradesh was the biggest contributor to Central Goods and Services Tax. However, the state was lagging behind all the southern states in per capita income despite strong efforts to improve GDP. Naidu said the Centre was providing special benefits to the North East. “Had Andhra Pradesh been given the same hand holding, many industries would have come to our state,” he added.
Andhra Pradesh has been demanding special category status since its bifurcation in 2014. The demand gained momentum after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget in Parliament, after which Andhra Pradesh accused the government of not allocating enough funds for the state.
The Telugu Desam Party pulled out of the BJP-led alliance after government refused to grant it special category status. The Centre, instead, said it would grant Andhra Pradesh a “special package”, which it claimed would be equivalent to a special status.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said Andhra Pradesh is the only states besides the northeastern and hilly states that gets revenue deficit grant for all five years under the 14th Finance Commission. “The Schedule 13 of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act has a feature mentioning the setting up of 11 national-level education institutions,” Rao told reporters. “However, only nine have been set up in the first three years. The Telugu Desam Party’s charges are bogus.”