BJP-TDP TROUBLES OUT IN THE OPEN?

Saffron Party's State Unit Planning To Strengthen Base In Order To Contest Future Elections On Its Own Andhra Pradesh is set to witness a tough political fight between its ruling alliance partners TDP and BJP, with the saffron party determined to strengthen its support base in the state and going alone in the future elections.

The BJP leaders participating in the state executive held in Visakhapatnam on Sunday took an unequivocal stand that the party must no longer be seen as a minor partner to the TDP and must grow on its own in the state.

This rather aggressive stance has come on the back of directives issued by the BJP national president Amit Shah that the state unit must be ready to face the elections in future on its own.

“An alliance with the TDP does not mean that we should not grow on our own. Nobody can foresee what the political scenario would be in the state in the coming days.Our national president has told us to be prepared for any eventuality and accordingly, we have resolved to strengthen the party in the state,“ AP BJP spokesperson, Karnati Anjaneya Reddy, said.

More scathing was Narsapuram MP Gokaraju Gangaraju, who said that the BJP wants to break the shackles of alliance with the TDP.“Chandrababu Naidu says in public that we are together, but the ground reality is that the TDP is treating the BJP as its rival. They don't want us to grow and they are suppressing us in every possible way. But, we have taken the challenge and the BJP is going to be a formidable force in AP,“ he said.

The fault lines that the BJP leaders are pointing at is the TDP's attempt to show the Centre in a bad light on the issue of funds and special category status. “The TDP is going around saying that the Centre is not supporting the state government. It is trying to make an issue out of the demand for the special category status for AP.In fact, the Centre has done more than granting the special status and has released Rs 8,000 crore in a span of just 10 months,“ said Gangaraju.

He, instead, blamed the TDP regime for the delay in setting up educational institutions such as IIT, IIM, and AIIMS. He said it is the state government that is yet to provide land and infrastructure for these institutions, though the Centre granted them eight months ago.

Senior BJP leader Kanna Lakshminarayana said the state executive has resolved to go to the people with these issues and effectively counter the TDP's propaganda.“The farmers' plight and drought in the districts of Rayalaseema are going to be the main issues. The state government has done nothing on this front even after the Centre has released funds. As much as Rs 350 crore has been granted for the Rayalaseema districts, but it has not been spent,“ he said, adding that the BJP leaders would tour Rayalaseema, followed by public meetings in coastal Andhra.

TDP NOT TO SIT SILENT

The TDP, as is wont, is not going to watch silently as the BJP steps up its campaign. Party president Chandrababu Naidu is said to have instructed his rank and file to organize public meetings and mass contact programmes to counter the BJP campaign. “We don't object if the BJP wants to grow stronger in AP, but it is unfair to blame the TDP for its own underperformance,“ said senior TDP leader Gali Muddu Krishnama Naidu.Insisting that the special category status due to AP was indeed an issue, he said, “The fact of the matter is that the Centre has to deliver on it.“

Meanwhile, commenting on the grant of Rs 8,000 crore for AP, he said it was a regular grant as per the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission and the Centre could not claim it as a special grant. “On the other hand, the Centre has released just Rs 1,000 crore for the Polavaram project when the requirement is Rs 16,000 crore. And Rs 1,500 crore has been released for the capital city construction when the demand is Rs 20,000 crore,“ he said, adding that the TDP “will also go the people with the facts and figures.“


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