‘Mine is a Special State With Special Problems’: Chandrababu's Retort at Being Cut Short by Rajnath

News18.com
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will also be present when Chandrababu Naidu meets JD(S) leader Deve Gowda in Bengaluru.

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was locked in an interesting exchange with Union minister Rajnath Singh at a Niti Aayog meeting on Sunday, where the former reiterated his demand for special status to his state.

Making a presentation before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fellow chief ministers and several Union ministers, Naidu exceeded the 7-minute slot allotted for participants.

Sources in Naidu’s office said that when Rajnath Singh tried to point this out to the Andhra CM, he reportedly quipped, “Mine is a special state with special problems. I will take more time.” Naidu then went onto speak for 20 minutes, sources added.

The Chief Minister had prepared a 13-page document to include all his major demands.

Naidu demanded a special category status (SCS) for his state focusing on non-fulfilment of assurances made in Rajya Sabha, including Special Category Status and provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief found support for his demand when Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar vouched for it and took the opportunity to call for a special category status for his state as well.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also supported Naidu’s demand and urged the Prime Minister to grant SCS to Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra chief minister also raised the issue of Polavaram project and claimed that the Centre is yet to reimburse Rs 1,892 crore to the state government.

The southern state has also been opposing the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission which, they feel, is penalizing states for performing well. Naidu found support from Banerjee on this issue as well.

With the country grappling under agrarian crisis and all major farmer outfits demanding adoption of the MS Swaminathan report, Naidu stressed on the need to prepare a roadmap to implement recommendations on land reforms, irrigation, credit, insurance, food security, employment, farm produce and farmers’ efficiency.

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also opposed the use of socio economic caste census (SECC) for Ayushman Bharat scheme and claimed that it will limit the benefits to only 56 lakh families in the state.

Other major highlights of the speech included revenue deficit grant and funds for education institutions.