Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu today started a day-long protest in Delhi demanding Special Category status for the state of Andhra Pradesh. The grand coalition has once again attempted to show its strength as Delhi CM Kejriwal, DMK’s T Shiva and TMC’s Derek O’ Brien attended his day-long fast in the national capital. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Congress president Rahul Gandhi also extended their support to Chandrababu Naidu.
What is flummoxing is the huge amount of money that Naidu has spent on his protest. It was earlier reported that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu spent over Rs. 1 crore for the transportation of his supporters to the national capital to attend the protest against the Centre’s decision to scrap the Special Category Status. India Today accessed an official letter containing details of the expenses of two trains, one from Srikakulam and the other from Anantapur. The trains were arranged for the transportation of the TDP supporters who wanted to attend the day-long protest of chief minister Naidu. Now, India Today has also reported that as per its calculations, Naidu will spend at least a little over Rs. 60 lakhs to accommodate TDP leaders and supporters in Delhi, so that they can attend his protest in Delhi. It is absolutely shocking that Chandrababu Naidu has spent this sizeable amount for protest even as the Anganwadi workers have been denied their due. As per the state secretary of the Anganwadi workers and helpers association, “Since 2014, we have never received our salaries on time. Thousands of workers haven’t received salaries for the past three months. Bills ranging into hundreds of crores are pending.”
It seems that Naidu has held this exorbitant protest in order to ensure that he remains at the forefront within the grand coalition. After Mamata Banerjee staged a political showdown and staged a dharna over a confrontation with the CBI, it seemed that the opposition leaders and the constituents of the grand coalition had come out in her support. Mamata Banerjee suddenly occupied the center-stage within the grand coalition and one could not help but assume that she was going to be the PM candidate of the grand alliance. At such a critical juncture, Naidu would have definitely felt that he was being overshadowed by the TMC supremo. Therefore, it became important to hold a protest and steal the show. Now, the other opposition leaders and allies within the grand coalition will have to feign support and sympathy for the Andhra Pradesh chief minister. Naidu made a sharp attempt in order to gain limelight and not let Mamata Banerjee appear as the leader of the grand coalition.
However, the question that arises is why Naidu has held his protest in Delhi and not in Amravati. A world-class Capital in the form of Amravati has been the main poll plank as far as the TDP chief is concerned. In such a situation, one feels compelled to dissect why Naidu chose Delhi for such an important protest show and not Amravati. The fact remains that a huge sum of money has been spent on this city, while the foundation stone was laid in 2015 itself. However, in the month of September 2018 last year, it was reported that nothing had been built in Amravati. Even basic amenities such as drainage and power lines are yet to be put in place. Initially, the plan for the new world-class capital city indeed appeared ambitious and impressive. It was being proposed that the city spread over 7,500 sq km (2,895 sq miles) area would be developed over a period of 10 years. However, till date, no progress has taken place on this front. It was reported by Economic Times last year that the Centre had already released Rs. 1500 crore for Amravati and Rs. 500 crore each for Guntur and Vijayawada. This makes it clear why Naidu has held his protest in Delhi and not in Amravati. Despite the huge sum of money that has been spent on Amravati, the world-class city is far from materialising. This only exposes Naidu’s administrative inefficiency. He promises big but does not deliver at the ground level.