Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah has launched a scathing attack against TDP president and AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for instigating people against the Centre on the issue of special status for the state. At the same time, Shah made it clear that the BJP was the genuine well-wisher of the people of Andhra and was committed to fulfilling the promises made to them at the time of division of combined AP.

Shah, in his letter dated 23 March, but released on Saturday morning, replied to the charges made by Naidu in his letter on 19 March, explaining the background for TDP’s pullout from the ruling NDA at the Centre. The BJP chief’s strong worded 9-page letter comes in the wake of the main opposition Congress giving a no-confidence motion notice against the government in Lok Sabha.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business for the whole week from 19 March after TDP and YSR Congress members gave separate no-trust vote notices. The Congress initially backed their motions, but on Friday, the party decided to issue a notice on its own and its no-confidence motion is expected to be taken by the Speaker on Tuesday, 27 March.

Though the Congress’ notice for a no-trust motion will include several other issues like the PNB scam and Rafale deal, the alleged injustice to Andhra and grant of special status to the state will surely figure prominently in the debate, if it takes place. The TDP and YSR Congress will support the Congress notice, if the latter agrees to highlight Andhra issues.

Keeping in view the possible debate on these issues in Parliament next week, the BJP chief, through an open letter, answered every allegation made by the AP CM. Addressed to CM Naidu, the BJP president said: “TDP’s decision to quit the NDA family is both unfortunate and unilateral. It’s a decision, I am afraid, is construed as wholly guided by political considerations instead of developmental concerns.”

Shah reminded Naidu that “when TDP had no adequate representation in the previous Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha, it was the BJP that set the agenda and ensured that justice is done to the hardworking Telugu people in both the states”. The BJP president made it clear that his party alone has been the real friend of the people of Andhra right from the beginning.

Shah also came down heavily against the TDP government in AP for not discharging its duties with regard to spending the funds provided by the Centre in the last four years. The BJP president has alleged that AP hasn’t even spent 8% of the funds given by the Centre for urban development and the capital city of Amaravati. He said that the government hadn’t furnished utilisation certificates (UCs).

Shah blamed CM Naidu for inciting people emotionally on the issue of special status and said that the same privilege was ruled out by the 14th Finance Commission which had not only increased the allocation of states’ share in the central funds from 32% to 42%, but also provided for compensating revenue deficit of states.

Shah objected to AP projecting a revenue loss of Rs 16,000 crore by including loan waiver to farmers and pensions to different groups. “How can you include welfare schemes and subsidies in the revenue deficit? Even BJP ruled states are providing subsidies and welfare schemes out of their own funds, not from the central funds,” said Shah in the letter.

Shah’s retaliation to Naidu’s charges has been welcomed by BJP leaders in Andhra, but TDP ministers said that the CM would reply to it in a day or two. The BJP’s president’s frontal attack against TDP is viewed as its attempt to retrieve the lost ground in Andhra as well as a curtain raiser to the party’s argument in Lok Sabha next if the no-confidence motion notices were taken up by the Chair.

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