Letter to BS: Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu is setting a wrong precedent

N Chandrababu Naidu
Apropos of “Special status stalemate” (March 27), reorganisation of states is usually followed by clamour and protests for “special category” status and heated debates in Parliament. The residual states cite bizarre reasons to walk out of alliances at the Centre, ranging from inadequate access to natural resources to the exodus of talented workforce to newly created states. 

They often resort to flaming regional passions and carry out arson and riots to prevent their political ideology from plunging into existential crises. In 2000, on the eve of the creation of Jharkhand, the Bihar Assembly unanimously passed a resolution seeking a compensation package of Rs 1.79 trillion from the Centre. 

While then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee never accepted the demand, he did engage with the political leadership of Bihar and announced a special assistance package to improve and expand the state’s technical institutions and a grant for e-governance which was eventually welcomed by then Chief Minister Rabri Devi.

By indulging in parochial opportunism and using political pulpits to run a charade against the government on the pretext of championing the “self-respect of Andhraites”, CM Chandrababu Naidu (pictured) is displaying political brinkmanship and setting a dangerous precedent for other “disadvantaged” states. The resignation of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ministers and threat to walk out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is reminiscent of the moves Naidu made in the first term of the NDA between 1998 and 2004 when he tried to wield influence forcing the government to shift important institutions such as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority to Hyderabad. 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is right in saying that “sentiment does not decide the quantum of funds. It is the constitutional award of the Finance Commission which decides the quantum of funds that the state gets”. The increased devolution as recommended by the Fourteenth Finance Commission (which included revenue deficit grants following the bifurcation) is already flowing to the state. It is time the political parties stopped fishing in troubled waters and raising unconstitutional demands in a politically charged atmosphere.
Shreyans Jain New Delhi

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