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BJP prefers weak alliance partners; It can't dictate terms to TDP: Chandrababu Naidu

TDP will sweep 2019 election and also win all 25 LS seats in AP because despite non-cooperation of the Centre, I have delivered on my promises on development, Naidu said.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 03, 2018, 07.44 AM IST
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"YSRCP & BJP have already colluded and are harming Andhra interests for political gains," Naidu said.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has accused the BJP of conspiring to incite regional agitations and unrest in the state, in an exclusive interview to CR Sukumar. Excerpts:

Is it true that BJP’s demand for 10 Lok Sabha and 50 assembly seats led to the breakup in ties?
There was no such demand from the BJP. I would have turned down such a demand. BJP has not gained strength in Andhra to seek more seats nor has my popularity dipped for TDP to settle for fewer seats. We had partnered BJP in 2014 only in Andhra’s interest. The relations strained as BJP prefers weak alliance partners, like YSR Congress, facing corruption trials that could be controlled. It cannot dictate terms with TDP, which is not willing to compromise on Andhra’s interest. BJP is doing injustice to Andhra for political gains and punishing the people by not honouring assurances made in the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014, and promise for a special category status. BJP does not realise that by harming Andhra’s development, it is hampering India’s development too. BJP is provoking five crore people of Andhra by denying them opportunities and benefits

Why did BJP accuse you of unilaterally snapping ties?
BJP snapped the alliance in Telangana unilaterally within a year of alliance. Despite that, we continued our ties in Andhra. It was only after waiting for four years in the hope that it would fulfil promises under the state reorganisation act that we quit NDA.

What prompted you to say a conspiracy was being hatched in the state?
What kind of signal is Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving by closeting himself with tainted politicians and financial fraud accused of YSR Congress undergoing trial? How does he want the public to perceive the relief the accused get after meeting him? Giving access to the fraud accused when the government is fighting corruption sends wrong signals to the nation and investigating agencies. Entertaining those accused of financial fraud either through nexus or access will help them escape easily and manage investigating agencies such as the CBI and ED.

Do you fear vindictive action against you?
Those who resort to high-handedness will pay. The YS Rajasekhara Reddy government tried its best to malign me with cases. They couldn’t achieve anything. My life is an open book. Our family has been disclosing assets and income from businesses every year. I contributed immensely to the development of Hyderabad and now I am striving for development of the residual state. I have dedicated myself to development of the state and hardly get time to spend with my family. I managed to attract so many large investments only because of my credibility. Those deeply involved in fraud are resorting to mudslinging against me.

Why did you accuse the BJP of inciting unrest in the state?
After I began raising my voice to protect the interests of Andhra, the BJP started inciting regional movements in Rayalaseema. Being a regional party, we are more nationalistic and the BJP, being a national party, is resorting to regional agitations. I hear that it may resort to political gimmicks like awarding a few large projects to Andhra in response to the demands of local BJP, YSR Congress and Janasena, and give credit to those three parties to help them gain in 2019 polls.

Do you expect BJP to join hands with YSRCP and Janasena?
They have already colluded and are harming Andhra interests for political gains. YSRCP wouldn’t question the BJP or the PM for not fulfilling bifurcation promises but keep extending unconditional support to BJP. Its MPs are always seen in the PMO, which shows a clear nexus.

What is your agenda for the two-day Delhi tour?
The agenda is to bring to the notice of the country the injustice done to Andhra and to mount pressure on the Union government… to mobilise support of the national political parties. I will meet available floor leaders of various political parties in Parliament and seek solidarity for our fight for legitimate rights of Andhra. I will request them to raise the issue in Parliament. The Centre should respect cooperative federalism. The TDP had earlier championed the cause of rights of federal states, following which Sarkaria Commission was formed. Whenever there is a threat to cooperative federalism, the TDP will certainly raise its voice.

Do you see a threat to rights of states?
The BJP is questioning utilisation certificates the Andhra government submitted against funds released. This is suspecting and disrespecting a state government, which is bad for cooperative federalism.

Do you favour a federal front?
For the time being, my priorities are on protecting Andhra’s interest. The TDP has always believed that regional leadership is nearer to the people and it will continue to work to help strengthen regional parties in the backdrop of cooperative federalism.

Where do you stand in the debate that southern states are being punished on devolution of funds for progress?
Despite non-cooperation of the Centre, I have delivered on my promises to the people of Andhra on development and welfare, including loan redemption. I have attracted huge investments into Andhra over the past four years, including some marque investments such as Kia Motors, Hero Motors, Ashok Leyland and Foxconn. Thanks to relentless efforts and initiatives, in the past four years Andhra has achieved double-digit growth, the highest among Indian states. I have transformed the state’s rural and urban infrastructure, apart from significantly improving power and water supply.

Do you hope to return to power after the 2019 polls?
I have no doubt about it. I am sure my party will sweep the 2019 election and also win all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in AP because despite non-cooperation of the Centre, I have delivered on my promises on development and welfare, including loan redemption. I have attracted huge investments into Andhra, including marque investments such as Kia Motors, Hero Motors, Ashok Leyland and Foxconn. Andhra has achieved double-digit growth, the highest among Indian states. I have transformed the state’s rural and urban infrastructure, apart from significantly improving power and water supply. But my government could have done much better than we have achieved so far had Centre fulfilled promises.

How can you build the capital city with public donations that you have sought?
My call for contributions from public was only to arouse the spirit and not that I can fully build the capital city with such token public contributions. The call was to prepare the people of Andhra to participate in the state’s development. It was in response to a similar call I had given in 2014 that people volunteered to offer over 33,000 acres of land worth over `40,000 crore for the capital city construction. The people of Andhra have been cooperating with my government and contributing to the state’s growth by offering land for various projects.

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