Prime Minister Narendra Modi has complimented both Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) for burying their hatchet and agreeing to work together for the development of their recently separated states. The PM conveyed this to them on Thursday at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Amaravati, AP’s capital city.
The PM’s personal care and attention to keep both the CMs beside him attracted the attention of all the VIPs on the dais as well as the two lakh people who watched the ceremony on large screens. At one stage, the PM pulled KCR by hand and asked him to stand next to him. Then, the PM raised both his hands along with Naidu and KCR as a show of solidarity. This gesture drew a huge applause. “I am more than happy to see both CMs of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on the dais. I was also delighted to know that Naidu went to the residence of KCR to invite him to this foundation stone laying ceremony. Whether they are in Andhra or Telangana, all Telugu people are one and their soul is the same,” said the Prime Minister while addressing the gathering at Amaravati.
The PM’s comments come against the backdrop of the differences that flared up between the two CMs for the past 17 months, especially since the unearthing of the cash-for-votes scam where Naidu’s Telegu Desam Party men tried to bribe a nominated MLA to defeat a Telangana Rashtra Samithi candidate in the MLC elections four months ago. The CMs went to the extent of trying to arrest each other by filing criminal cases. Their undeclared war against each other has created several administrative problems. Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan has reportedly told the Centre that due to the unwillingness of the two CMs to sit together, many official issues remained unresolved. Right from river water issues to division of common assets and holding of joint entrance exams for students were affected, the Governor informed the Centre.
The coming together of both the CMs has the full backing of the PM, sources in the BJP told The Sunday Guardian on the condition of anonymity. It was at the instance of the PM and Home Minister Rajnath Singh that Naidu took the initiative to go to KCR’s residence to invite him to the Amaravati function, sources said.
When Naidu told the PM and HM that he was inviting a large number of VIPsfrom across the country, both of them reminded the CM that he should invite his counterpart in Telangana to stress the “oneness of Telugu people”. Taking a cue from their advice, Naidu, too, thought that the occasion presented him with an opportunity to draw close to KCR and he went to the latter’s residence. The initiative worked well and KCR instantly agreed to attend the Amaravati function. KCR’s speech assuring full support of the Telangana government to develop Amaravati evoked huge applause from the crowd. Even the PM clapped as KCR pledged to cooperate with the neighbouring AP government for its development. Naidu, too, thanked KCR for his presence at the function.
The PM saw to it that both Naidu and KCR were around him as long as he moved around the foundation stone laying function site. The PM kept on talking to both of them at the puja venue and an exhibition to highlight the over 1,800-year-old history of Amaravati, a city raised by Telugu emperors Ikshvakas and Buddhist rulers over centuries. The PM told the CMs that he was happy that if Telangana got an over 420-year-old Hyderabad, AP got a two millennium old Amaravati, sources said.
The PM shook hands with KCR before leaving by an IAF helicopter to temple town Tirupati after the Amaravati function. Though the AP government had made elaborate arrangements for a sumptuous lunch at the venue, the PM skipped it as he was about to wind up a “Navaratri Upavas” by Thursday evening. Pleased with the PM’s attention to him, KCR had lunch at the venue.
A senior TDP minister told this newspaper immediately after the function that though the PM hasn’t spoken anything on granting special status to AP, he has succeeded in persuading KCR to be a friend of AP. “If both AP and Telangana cooperate like friendly neighbours, it is more than getting special status for our development,” the minister said.
Naidu and his ministers were more than happy that PM Modi personally brought some soil from the Parliament complex and some water from Yamuna river for the construction of Amaravati. This overshadowed the boycott of the function by Opposition leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on the ground that farmers’ lands were forcibly acquired for Amaravati.