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From fast friends to sworn enemies

From fast friends to sworn enemies
Highlights

It is a case of friends turning foes in a matter of four years. The famed \'Modi Naidu Jodi\' today lies in tatters. The angst of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was on show during his diatribe at Sunday’s Telugu Desam Party’s 34th Mahanadu, particularly on how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone back on his promises to the State.

It is a case of friends turning foes in a matter of four years. The famed 'Modi Naidu Jodi' today lies in tatters. The angst of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was on show during his diatribe at Sunday’s Telugu Desam Party’s 34th Mahanadu, particularly on how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone back on his promises to the State.

With his bête-noire YS Jaganmohan Reddy converting Special Category Status into a potent political weapon, Naidu who then pussyfooted around Modi’s broken promises as though they were mere peccadillos, came out with all guns blazing. Naidu, who had once settled for Special Category Status, made a volte-face apparently to rein in Reddy who painted Naidu’s rule with a tarred brush.

Naidu’s arguments were good in so far as his approach to BJP was concerned initially. He joined forces with Modi and using the mojo of Pawan Kalyan, he rode to power. He decided to continue his friendship with BJP as, when he took over, the State was in a financial mess. He wanted to be in Modi’s good books so that there would not be any problem in release of funds and also for bridging the revenue gap of Rs 16,000 crore which the state had inherited at the time of the bifurcation.

In the first two years, Naidu bit the bullet even when the Centre dragged its feet on SCS as he did not rub the BJP leadership on the wrong side. At one point of time, when he could not take the delay any longer he contemplated a full-blown confrontation, around which time, quite ironically, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came out with a Special Package that ostensibly was better than SCS.

It worked because Naidu fell for ‘trap.’ It was not long before Naidu saw the pitfalls and the inordinate delay in any sort of implementation. Adding to his woes, Reddy raised his pitch against Naidu’s rule. Now Naidu is an arch enemy to Modi and his address at Mahanadu only substantiates it. If the situation has come to such a pass, both the BJP and TDP are to be blamed.

Consequently, even the Railway zone at Visakhapatnam, which is a sentimental issue like the SCS, is going for a toss. Apparently, the BJP doesn’t want to hurt Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, who does not wish to lose Waltair from East Coast zone as it has remained zone’s cash cow for a long time.

If Naidu is spewing venom on Modi, it is, more because Reddy has been playing the SCS as an ace up his sleeve. Naidu’s repeated assertions that Reddy is venal were only to discredit him and thereby take the sting out of his campaign. As far as BJP is concerned, it should have kept in mind that the State had been badly bruised, and its wounds are still afresh. If anyone could nurse those wounds it is only the BJP, which is now paying a heavy political price because it failed to apply the soothing balm.

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