The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill [CAB], which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to members of minority communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis) from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have fled religious persecution, was passed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha with the help of bipartisan consensus from the parties of Andhra Pradesh- the ruling YSRCP and opposition TDP.
Both the ruling party and the opposition supported the CAB 2019 for different reasons. The ruling YSRCP, led by charismatic Christian leader- Jaganmohan Reddy- supported CAB because it wants a better financial deal with the central government, and shed the anti-Hindu tag. The party has been repeatedly attacked by Hindu majority of the state for its pro-Christian community stance.
The state of Andhra Pradesh is under financial trouble due to its populist economic policies. The state government is expected to spend Rs 30,661 crore on servicing its debt, which is 13% of its estimated expenditure- 2,27,975 crore rupees.
The Jagan government also wants central funds to clear the dues of the power projects, which were started by the TDP government. The arrears amounting near 18,000 crore rupees of various renewable and thermal power projects are pending, but the government has refused to clear the due until it gets central funds. The incumbent government has clearly told the companies that the dues will be cleared only when “the Centre provides funds”.
The Andhra government is closing the avenues of tax collection with regressive policies, while the expenditure is rising due to freebee distribution. With the prohibition on liquor, Andhra government is suffering massive loss in excise revenues. The total excise collection in FY 18 was 5,789 crore rupees and this has been reduced to 3,326 crore rupees in the first 9 months of this calendar year.
Liquor ban will prove massive blow to the financial health of the state, which is already under the huge burden of 2.58 lakh crore rupees, which results in interest burden of 20,000 crore rupees per year. With the freebies announced to almost every section of the society, and revenues going down due to stupid moves like liquor prohibition, the state will be pushed towards financial bankruptcy.
If the central government does not come out to help, the state is posed to default on the loans. Therefore, it was wiser of Jagan to support the central government on CAB.
On the other hand, Chandrababu Naidu wants to bridge the ties with the Modi government, after realizing that leaving NDA was a big mistake. In October this year, for the first time since the massive setback during the Lok Sabha polls this year, Naidu accepted that severing ties with the BJP was a mistake.
“We severed ties with the BJP and withdrew our ministers from the union cabinet to press our demands on Amaravati, Polavaram and Special status,” said Naidu. He also opined that the move backfired and the party suffered a huge setback due to the decision to part ways with the BJP.
First indications of the TDP reshaping its stand came in August this year, with the Naidu led party supporting the Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution. Before that, the TDP’s act of abstaining when the Triple Talaq Bill came up before the Rajya Sabha, could be taken as an indication of change in TDP’s approach towards the BJP.
Prime Minister Modi had cautioned TDP when it proposed the no-confidence motion in Parliament last year against the Modi government. PM Modi had said that Naidu has fallen into the trap of the Jagan Reddy. It must be noted that when the BJP-TDP alliance had run into trouble last year, BJP had made efforts to placate its ally in Andhra Pradesh.