Last year, the Jagan-led Andhra delegation had hailed the event as a big success as it had signed MoUs for investments to the tune of Rs 1.25 lakh crore, but has chosen not to attend this year.

AP CM Jagan with Tech Mahendra CEO Twitter/C_P_Gurnani
news controversy Tuesday, January 17, 2023 - 18:13

A controversy is brewing over Andhra Pradesh’s absence at the World Economic Forum (WEF) event at Davos, Switzerland this year, especially with neighbouring Telangana setting up a pavilion in a bid to attract investments. Last year, a delegation led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had visited Davos – when the event was held after a gap of two years – to pitch for investments. According to sources, WEF organisers invited Andhra Pradesh this year as well but failed to get a positive response.

The WEF is an invite-only event. It draws around 3,000 attendees each year and is free for all WEF members. The WEF is a global platform where leaders from all walks of life come together to address global problems and is an effective platform to attract investors. The 53rd edition of the event began this year on Sunday, January 16 and will go on till January 20.

The Jagan-led Andhra delegation hailed the 2021 event as a big success as it had signed MoUs for investments to the tune of Rs 1.25 lakh crore. This makes the absence of the state this year all the more conspicuous.

Commenting on the controversy, TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh said, “Chandrababu Naidu [former Andhra Chief Minister] visiting Davos nine times and YS Jagan showing no interest spells out how Andhra Pradesh’s potential to create jobs for its youth has been destroyed.”

Chandrababu Naidu was a regular at the WEF, attending the event nine times. This includes five times between 1999 and 2004 when he was the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh and four times between 2014 and 2019 after the bifurcation. Lokesh too participated in the WEF event while he was Andhra’s Minister for Information Technology and Panchayat Raj.

According to the WEF, four union ministers, the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister, Tamil Nadu’s Industries minister, and Telangana’s IT minister are those attending the event as part of the Indian delegation this year.

Speaking to TNM, Andhra Pradesh BJP leader Dinakar Lanka lashed out at Jagan saying it would have been a colossal waste of public money had he made the trip. “What did Jagan Mohan Reddy get even after attending WEF 2021? Even the few companies that agreed to invest were all Indian companies. What’s the point in spending so much money and going to Davos to get Indian companies to invest? Even the little investment that came to Andhra were commitments made in 2019. Not a single dollar of new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has come to Andhra after Jagan became CM. Hence it is a waste of public money even if they go to the WEF,” he said.

“I believe that the WEF probably felt that it is not worth inviting Andhra Pradesh because of the non-investor-friendly atmosphere that exists in the Jagan-led YSRCP government,” Dinakar added.

Responding to reports of not being invited, the Andhra Pradesh government tweeted a copy of the WEF invitation it received. However, why it decided against going remains unclear.

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