The Central government had invited the Chief Ministers of the two Telugu States for talks in Delhi on March 23. Though there was a proposal to hold a meeting with the senior bureaucrats of the two states on February 23, it did not happen for various reasons. Now that the MPs from the two states, particularly from AP, are getting ready for an intensified protest in Parliament from March 5, when the Parliament meets for the budget session, after a brief recession, the Central government seems to have set its eyes on the move. The meeting is proposed to bring down the tempers of the ruling parties from the two Telugu States.
While there is no sign of the Central government giving the bifurcation benefits to the two states, the meeting is proposed to provide some butter to the angry and hungry mouths. As it appears, the BJP leadership, which is at the helm in the Centre, is not ready to give any benefits to the Telugu States. It doesn’t have the concern for the southern states as it has for the northern and north eastern states. The announcement of Rs 20,000 crore defence corridor for Bundelkhand last week by the Prime Minister itself speaks volumes about the BJP’s love for the northern States. This is enough to say that the March 5 meeting is not going to bring much for the Telugu States.
Having spoken openly for the first time after one month, Chandrababu Naidu would certainly bat for the special package as he is not interested in the special category status. Even if he wants it and the Centre gives it, he finds the special category status as not of any use but wants it only because there is a popular demand for it.
Chandrababu Naidu would certainly ask funds for his pet project – Amaravati city, filling the revenue deficit and funding the Polavaram project. He wants the Centre to accept his demand of revenue deficit and the Polavaram package. The Centre has some different view on the revenue deficit and the Polavaram package. The Centre doesn’t accept the State’s claims of Rs 16,000 crore revenue deficit and Rs 58,000 crore package for Polavaram. Chandrababu Naidu might bargain hard with the Centre to give him more than what it has been promising.
The Centre sees the revenue deficit at Rs 7,000 crore while it had not arrived at an amount for the Polavaram package. Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari had asked the State to give him separate estimates for the actual project cost, land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement package. The Central government is not ready to accept the expenditure projections of the State government for land acquisition and the RR package, where Chandrababu Naidu wants to bargain now.