Even as the Andhra Pradesh government led by the Telugu Desam party alleges that the Centre created hurdles in the development of the state, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has expressed confidence that the Polavaram project will be completed by December 2019. Terming the project as the biggest and first in the country for river-linking, he said, “Polavaram is the biggest project in India. I’m dedicating this project to the nation. Ours is the first government to realise river interlinking in India. I’ll complete this project by December 2019,” ANI quoted Naidu as saying on Monday.
Moreover, Polavaram project has been granted the status of a national project by the government of India. It is a multi-purpose irrigation project being constructed across the Godavari river in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The reservoirs of the project will also be in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
In Andhra Pradesh, political parties have been protesting against the Centre for not fulfilling its promise of granting the special status tag to the state which was bifurcated in 2014. The second half of the Budget Session was also washed out due to protests by Andhra Pradesh MPs. In March, the TDP pulled out of the NDA government over the Centre’s refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Under the special category status, a state is entitled to get 90 per cent of the funds from the Centre instead of 60 per cent.
The rift started when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Centre can’t grant special status tag to Andhra Pradesh citing the 14th Finance Commission. He had argued that the 14th Finance Commission had removed the provision to special status tag. He had, however, promised that the Centre was ready to give all benefits to Andhra Pradesh dispensed under special category status.
In past, Bihar and Odisha have failed in getting the Centre to accept their demand for special status.
On May 30, at the annual conclave of the party, TDP adopted a resolution in which it lashed out at the NDA government for its “dictatorial” attitude towards states, and vowed to unite regional parties to dethrone the “anti-people” BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“The unilateral style of functioning of the Modi government has led to a loss of trust of states in the central government. The states feel that the concept of federalism is only on paper,” the resolution stated as reported by PTI.
At the same conclave, Chandrababu Naidu had said, “We ended the alliance with the NDA only in the interests of the states. We are not afraid of anyone and are ready to sacrifice everything. We will not stop until Andhra is given special status and the Polavaram project completed.” PTI reported.
The BJP-TDP rift became more visible when the swearing-in ceremony of H D Kumaraswamy as the Karnataka CM took place, Naidu shared the stage with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, BSP supremo Mayawati, SP president Akhilesh Yadav, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury among others, sending a clear message of opposition unity to the BJP.