Andhra Pradesh's ruling TDP on Thursday expressed its unhappiness with BJP-led NDA government for the "raw deal" meted out to the state in the Union Budget 2018-19.
The state had demanded a railway zone in Visakhapatnam, release of funds for building the state’s new capital Amaravati, funds for the Kadapa steel plant, and a railway division for the stretch between Vijayawada and Guntakal.
However, snubbing all the demands put forth by the state, the Centre allocated Rs 108 Crore for the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Rs 32 crore for the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (or petroleum university), Rs 10 crore for a Central University, Rs 10 crore for a Tribal University, Rs 54 Cr for NIT, Rs 50 Cr for IIT Tirupati and a few other minor educational allocations.
Irked by the poor allocation of funds, state finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said, “We have been expecting a lot. However, there is no mention of Andhra Pradesh in the budget speech, barring allocations for a few educational institutions that are mandatory as per the Bifurcation Act. It is disappointing.” He also referred to the budget as ‘poll-budget’.
TDP is a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre while the Bharatiya Janata Party is the junior ally in TDP-led government in the state.
The poor fund allocation to Andhra, despite the TDP-BJP alliance has exposed the deep wedge between the two parties.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, at a meeting with party leaders, voiced his disappointment over lack of any allocations for the state to fulfill the commitments made in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
Naidu, who is also the TDP chief, which is a constituent of the alliance, met his cabinet colleagues and party leaders to discuss the "injustice" meted out to the state.
Cabinet minister S. Chandramohan Reddy told reporters after the meeting that they will convey their dissatisfaction to the Centre and the party leaders authorised Naidu to take an appropriate decision.
He said the TDP had been waiting for four years for the BJP to help the state come out of the difficult situation created by its division.
A senior party functionary told TNM that they (Andhra) felt completely ‘ignored’. It is also learned that the chief minister is likely to hold a meeting with the ministers on Sunday for discussing the future of the alliance between the two parties.
Party leader and Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y. Sujana Chowdhary said that the budget has let down the people of Andhra Pradesh.
Chowdhary told reporters in New Delhi that the budget should have made allocations for Polavaram project, development of new state capital Amaravati, the Visakhapatnam Metro Project and the Visakhapatnam Railway Zone.
He said there were no allocations for major railway projects in the state.
Stating that there will be no compromise on the state's interests, he said the future course of action would be decided by Chandrababu Naidu.
Party MP Rammohan Naidu said they were even ready to resign for the sake of the state.
The opposition YSRCP leaders in the state also voiced a similar opinion.
Lashing out at the Centre, YSRCP MP VIjaya Sai Reddy said, "Even the state government is uninterested in pursuing the cause of a railway zone in Visakhapatnam."
Another senior YSRCP leader and MP, YV Subba Reddy, slammed the silence of the TDP, over the injustice meted out to the state.
While threatening to resign, he added, "If we also quit from Parliament, there is no one to question the injustice to Andhra, as TDP being an ally of BJP, is silent."
The TDP chief had last month called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to request him to take steps to fulfill the commitments made to the state at the time of state's division.
He had demanded that the Centre do the handholding to help the state overcome revenue deficit and ensure level playing field at par with other states.