Political diplomacy, Simmering anguish grips Andhra Pradesh as the State suffers blatant apathy in both railway and general budgets.
Simmering anguish grips Andhra Pradesh as the State suffers blatant apathy in both railway and general budgets. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu leads the sea of protest which for now is confined to political discourse. A lot of action seems to be happening on the ground. Naidu has sought Pavan Kalyan’s support for aggressive political diplomacy. Allocation of paltry Rs 100 crore for the Polavaram project epitomises the monumental neglect of the State. A mere mention of fulfilling the legal commitments by the Finance Minister in his budget speech does not inspire confidence. Instead, it raises new apprehensions. Many things like special status are not legal commitments but political commitments made on the floor of the Parliament by the then Prime Minister at the time of State bifurcation. The BJP especially Venkaiah Naidu deserves credit for forcing the UPA to make a host of promises to Andhra people. Now, a mention of only legal commitments is nothing but a betrayal of the promises and even the mandate of the people which was essentially determined by the hope of Modi - Naidu combine delivering them.
When cornered on the special status, the explanation by both TDP and BJP leaders was that they were exploring alternate ways of helping the State. But, the budget failed to reflect this. In a bid to assuage the feelings of their ally, Venkaiah Naidu advised Chief Minister Naidu to meet the Finance Minister to sort out the matter. In fact, the CM had met a number of ministers before the budget session. If those meetings failed to result in any substantial deal, how can another meeting correct the raw deal to the State?
While acknowledging that the allocations for at least Polavaram were paltry, Venkaiah Naidu blames it on Congress for long delay and indirectly the TDP government for not sending a detailed project report to the Centre. The State government should explain to the people who are responsible for the insulting outlay for a project conceived to be the lifeline to Andhra Pradesh.
Venkaiah Naidu’s explanation is much more intriguing. He said that the precarious financial situation which his government inherited is the reason for pathetic outlays for AP. But, he should explain why the same precarious fiscal situation did not hinder the Finance Minister from showering sops on States like Bihar and West Bengal that go to polls soon. In fact, the budget and the economic survey paint an encouraging picture of the country’s economy.
Even a plain reading of the budget would reveal that the fiscal outlays are a function of ruling party’s political necessities. Andhra Pradesh does not fall prominently on the saffron political map. The presence of TDP in NDA makes no significant bearing given the arithmetic in Lok Sabha. Can the political diplomacy unleashed by Chandrababu Naidu alter this hard political reality?