Naidu denied that the state government had not been able to utilise funds given to it by the Centre.
New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday attacked Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu saying that his decision to break ties with the NDA was “unfortunate as well as unilateral” and guided by political consideration and not development concerns in the state.
In a letter to the Andhra chief minister, who broke ties with the NDA earlier this month after the Centre declined to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh, Mr Shah dubbed Mr Naidu’s criticism of the Centre as “untrue and baseless”.
Reacting to the letter, the TDP president accused Mr Shah of spreading lies. “Amit Shah’s letter is full of false information which shows their attitude. Even now, the Centre is providing special benefits to Northeastern states. Had Andhra Pradesh been given the same hand-holding, many industries would have come to the state,” Mr Naidu said.
Mr Naidu also refuted Mr Shah’s allegation that the state government was not able to utilise the funds given to it by the Centre.
Mr Shah, in his nine-page letter, dwelt at length about development works undertaken by the Centre in the state to assert that it has fulfilled the promises made under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, which divided the state in 2014, and underlined the BJP’s “unquestionable commitment” to it.
The BJP chief accused the Andhra Pradesh government of “serious lapses”, saying it has not provided the Centre appropriate fund utilisation details and that Mr Naidu’s comments that his government was under no obligation to give any expenditure statement were “evasive and reflect governance deficit”.
Mr Shah called Mr Naidu’s attack on the Centre over the special category status issue as a case of political parties “whipping up public sentiments” rather than encouraging an informed debate.
He said Andhra Pradesh is the only state to receive revenue deficit award for five years and that the NDA government has more than doubled assistance to it in the last five years.
Mr Naidu denied that the state government had not been able to utilise funds given to it by the Centre.
“Amit Shah in his letter says Centre gave many funds to the state, we couldn’t utilise them. They’re trying to say Andhra Pradesh government is incapable. Our government has good GDP, agriculture and many national awards. That’s our capability. Why are you spreading lies?” he asked.
“TDP is synonymous with development. Andhra Pradesh is the highest contributor to CGST. Despite our strong efforts and better development in GDP, Andhra is still lagging behind all the southern states in per capita income,” Mr Naidu said.
Earlier, Mr Shah gave details of the Central help to the state for developing its new capital and also the Polavaram irrigation project.
“I would like you to introspect whether political parties should be pitting sentiments and development against each other to further their political agenda. This decision (quitting NDA) is both unfortunate as well as unilateral. It is a decision that I am afraid will be construed as being guided wholly and solely by political considerations instead of developmental concerns,” Mr Shah said.
Mr Shah also told Mr Naidu that the BJP ensured that “justice” was done to the state when it was divided and the TDP did not have much representation in either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. The BJP’s stand was in contrast to the Congress, “which not only mismanaged the bifurcation but also showed zero sensitivity towards the Telugu people. Which is in line with their historic apathy to the Telugu community”, he said.
It is widely known that the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left no stone unturned in ensuring the growth and prosperity of Andhra Pradesh, he said.
He pointed out that the Centre has already initiated action on five feasible projects out of eight infrastructure projects that the AP Reorganisation Act proposed and had accorded approval to the Vijayawada metro rail project of Rs 6,769 crore.
The 14th Finance Commission has awarded the state revenue deficit grants of Rs 2,2113 crore in five years and the total award of funds to the state under tax devolution and grants under various heads during the five years between 2015 and 2020 is Rs 2,44,271 crore, he said.