Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday lashed out at BJP chief Amit Shah for his 'unfortunate' act of spreading ‘misinformation’ in the form of an open letter.
Formalising the split between the two parties, the BJP President had unleashed an attack on Naidu, alleging that the TDP's decision to quit the NDA was unilateral and "guided wholly and solely by political considerations instead of development concerns".
In a nine-page letter released on Saturday, Amit Shah described as "untrue and baseless" the TDP chief's allegations that the BJP was not sensitive to the aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking in the Assembly, Naidu claimed that the letter attacked the people of Andhra Pradesh, and was full of ‘false information, lies and half-truths.’
“It is not a letter for me. It is a letter written insulting every citizen of Andhra Pradesh,” Naidu said, as he commenced reading out parts of the letter.
Responding to Amit Shah’s statement that the TDP’s decision was unfortunate, Naidu said, “I waited for four years. I visited New Delhi 29 times. If you want to know what I did, you can go through the letters that I submitted to the central government.”
“It wasn’t political consideration, but the state’s interests and the public’s sentiments, that guided the TDP to take the decision to leave the NDA,” he added, as legislators applauded.
Naidu said that TDP was the first party to implement technology and focus on development, adding that it was not something unique to the BJP.
“Whose fault is it that Andhra Pradesh is suffering? We have been growing and seeking investments. If the Centre had helped, we would have been much ahead,” Naidu said.
Recalling what took place in Parliament during the bifurcation of the state, Naidu said, “Maybe Amit Shah was not in Delhi during the time, but I was. If Congress was able to pass the bifurcation Bill, it was only because it had an understanding with the BJP. It is on record. They passed the Bill in 20 minutes.”
He also said that every person in Andhra was not ‘sentimental’, but ‘hurt’ because of the condition of their home state after bifurcation.
Naidu also quoted Amit Shah’s letter that stated: “Co-operative federalism is the guiding credo of this government. PM Narendra Modi has worked with a ‘Team India’ spirit, with all the Chief Ministers and devolved far more funds – 42% of central revenues (as against 32% earlier) – amounting to an additional Rs 2 lakh crore, to the states.”
Responding to the statement, Naidu thundered, “TDP founder NT Rama Rao is the champion of co-operative federalism. We fought against the Congress, and we were the ones who fought for it. The TDP forced a Commission to be constituted and redefined the relationship between the Centre and the states.”
“We (the southern states) have been giving money to the Centre, and instead the central government behaves like it is doing us the favour. It is not right of the BJP to talk like this,” he added.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said that there was no need to ask the Centre for funds if the state was doing well, and demanded that the central government must create a level-playing field for Andhra Pradesh.
"The central government made all false promises but has not fulfilled any of their assurances. They are not even meeting the guidelines laid down in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. Instead, they are spreading misinformation that they have granted everything to the state," Naidu had alleged earlier during his speech in the Assembly.
Stating that he had written several letters and submitted multiple representations to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Naidu also quoted the latter's statement that 'every commitment made in the Act will be fulfilled.'
Naidu also questioned the Centre's move to cite the 14th Finance Commission's report to deny Special Category Status (SCS), adding, "When the members and chairman of the Commission have said that they made no such statement, what is the need to say untruths?"
Addressing the central government, Naidu said, "I want to ask, since you have made all these assurances to the state and we have been fighting for what is rightfully ours, do you not remember Andhra Pradesh?"
"We have been protesting for days in the Parliament, but not a word has been spoken on the injustice in the House," he added, amid applause.
The TDP walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on March 16.
On March 8, the TDP pulled out its two ministers -- Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary -- from the Narendra Modi government.