Nothing new in Central affidavit

The ruling Telugu Desam Party leaders, including Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, are blaming the Central government for its affidavit given to the Supreme Court. The affidavit, filed in reply to a petition filed by Telangana Congress leader Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy, said that there was no scope for the Central government to give special category status to Andhra Pradesh as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.

The Chief Minister and the TDP leaders took strong objections to this affidavit and blamed the BJP leadership for not considering the demands of the AP government and the people.

But, what is interesting here is that there is nothing new in the affidavit. It was just a copy of the statement given by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on September 8, 2016, where the Central government had offered special package to the State as a replacement to the special category status. The statement was just a copy of the Jaitley’s letter, which was drafted in consultation with Chandrababu Naidu and the then Union Minister Y S Chowdary. In fact, the TDP’s then Union Minister was very much present by the side of Arun Jaitley, when the statement was readout for the media on the day.

Interestingly, the same statement was welcomed by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on the midnight of the same day. The very next day, the Chief Minister led the AP Assembly to pass a resolution thanking the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Central government for the package, which was the greatest benefit given to the State. Chandrababu Naidu took a week or so to visit the national capital and felicitate Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the package.

Chandrababu Naidu and the TDP leaders, including the Ministers, went on record claiming big victory for the package, though the special category status was denied. The irony is that Chandrababu Naidu had even got the special category status activists arrested claiming that the package was the best offer to the State.

One wonders how and why the same leaders are making different statements to the same old document that denies special category status and reiterates the special package to the State.

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