AP CM braces to take on PM over ‘broken promises’

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AMARAVATI, June 16: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is to raise strongly a host of the state issues, including the centre’s refusal to grant ‘special category status’ to it, during the NITI Aayog meeting in New Delhi tomorrow.
Over the last four days, the chief minister held extensive discussions with the state ministers, top bureaucrats and MPs on the issues to be raised during the 4th Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog.
This will be the first time that Naidu will have a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the TDP pulled out of the NDA in March over the SCS issue.
Naidu, who has been vocal in his criticism of Prime Minister Modi and the BJP chief Amit Shah since snapping of TDP’s ties with the NDA, is expected to directly confront Modi over the (unfulfilled) promise of according special category status to Andhra Pradesh, made in Rajya Sabha at the time of its bifurcation to carve out Telangana.
A communique issued by the CM’s office and also the TDP said Naidu would not like to let go the opportunity and use the meeting to press the state’s demands.
The chief minister would seek to muster support from his counterparts like Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), H D Kumaraswamy (Karnataka), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi) and others in this regard.
“We will strongly demand the promise of according special category status be honoured immediately in tune with the people’s sentiments and that the centre extend all support to the state till we reach a level-playing field with other states,” he said during a meeting with ministers and bureaucrats yesterday.
“We are not seeking anything more than what has been promised in the Reorganisation Act and also in Parliament,” he added.
At a meeting with the TDP MPs, Naidu said there was not much on the NITI Aayog Governing Council agenda and hence he would take up with the Prime Minister the promises made to the state and their non-fulfilment.
“Rather than extending a helping hand, the Centre has only been blocking our progress at every step in the last four years. Despite all odds post-bifurcation, we have emerged as the fastest growing state in the country with a GSDP growth rate of 10.5 per cent. This was only because of our hard work,” he claimed.
Naidu also went on to say that the credibility of the Centre has eroded after botched measures like demonetisation and GST.
“People are still forced to stand in long queues to draw their money but the ATMs are running dry,” he said.
These issues, as well as the hike in petrol and diesel prices, discrepancies in MSP for agricultural products and crop insurance schemes will also be raised at the NITI Aayog meeting, the CMO said. (PTI)