Interview | National

BJP did not keep its promises, wanted to defame me: Chandrababu Naidu

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu  

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister says the national party wanted a weak ally so that it could be assertive and could grow on its own at the State level

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, on a two-day tour of Delhi gathering support for the State’s demand for Special Category Status, says the BJP did not keep its promises and wanted to defame him personally. Excerpts:

The alliance between you and the BJP started with a lot of warmth. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi called after you broke off the partnership, did he ask you to reconsider?

That day, he didn’t ask me anything like that. I explained my reasons for quitting the alliance very clearly. I joined hands with the BJP because the Congress had totally betrayed Andhra Pradesh. I thought I must have an ally in Delhi to extend a helping hand to the State. Within no time, the BJP announced that they will have no alliance with us in Telangana, without even informing us. In Andhra Pradesh too, they wanted their party to grow on its own. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. They never addressed what was promised in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. On the contrary, they wanted to defame me personally.

Why was that?

They want a weak alliance, a weak ally. For example, the YSRCP is a tainted party, and the BJP feels that if they have an alliance with a tainted, weak party, they can assert. The YSRCP unconditionally supported the NDA presidential candidate which was not required. A CBI inquiry is going on into cases dealing with ₹43,000 crore. When that is on, A1 and A2 [accused one and two in the cases are leaders of the YSRCP], you [Ministers] are meeting them. If you see, every Friday that there is a court appearance in their cases, they [YSRCP leaders] are also seen in the PMO. If these are the signals you are giving out, then others too need to prepare.

How do you compare and contrast Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr. Modi?

The Vajpayee government was a coalition, but he was able to carry everyone with him. All reforms were initiated during Vajpayee’s time — the open sky policy, total deregulation of the telecommunication sector, highway reforms and so on. Now the BJP has a clear majority. Because of majority or otherwise, they are behaving in a very high-handed manner.

How do you rate the Narendra Modi government’s economic policies, including demonetisation?

After demonetisation and especially the PNB scam, there is a problem of cash, which is affecting Andhra Pradesh too. People are losing faith in banking. The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017, further adds to the problem. The government is one entity which can control fraud, both public and private. People should have fear of the law. If there is no fear of the law, everyone will commit this kind of fraud and the common man can’t be penalised for that.

You have met leaders from across the political spectrum in Delhi in the past two days. What positioning do you see working out for an anti-BJP front in 2019?

It is a concern right now. I have been responsible for so many fronts in the past. The National Front, the United Front; the UNPA too was created by me. Nobody understands these experiments better than I.

In India, there are some compulsions also. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, there are no national parties. In some States, the BJP is there, in some, the Congress. At the appropriate time, fronts will come up.

The Akali Dal has said that the government could have asked the 15th Finance Commission to have a re-look at the question of Special Category Status, which was removed by the previous Finance Commission.

The 14th Finance Commission never spoke about special status, the chairman and members denied having done anything like that. They said that their terms and conditions were only devolution of financial resources between the Centre and the States.

Why are you [Centre] blaming them?

Southern States have said that the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission are biased against them, do you feel the same.

Even during the Vajpayee period, I fought for this issue. We [southern States] had gone for family planning and managed to control the population long ago. If population is the criterion, the southern States will be the biggest losers. I was responsible for freezing the reference point to the 1971 census. Performing States should not be penalised for their performance.

Do you feel the BJP does not understand southern India?

I feel Delhi always has a problem in understanding different regions and cultures. Why do you think problems in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and even Punjab are going on still? Even the Dalit protest are an example! They think they can do anything and get away with it.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 8:50:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-behaving-in-a-high-handed-manner-wanted-to-defame-me-chandrababu-naidu/article23437115.ece

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