Piyush Goyal challenges Chandrababu Naidu for debate on NDA govt's aid for Andhra Pradesh
Amaravati, Mar 26: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday threw an open challenge to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu asking the latter to come for a debate in New Delhi on what all the Narendra Modi government did for the state in the last five years.
Maintaining that Naidu accepted a special economic package in lieu of special category status for the state, the Union minister said Andhra Pradesh might lose a special grant of Rs 17,500 crore if the SCS was granted. "This is an open challenge to Chandrababu Naidu. Let him come to New Delhi. I am ready for a debate on this," Goyal said.
The railway minister visited Vijayawada in Amaravati to release the state BJP's election manifesto which, among other things, promised a transparent, corruption-free and responsible administration besides empowering all sections politically.
Seeking to expose the chief minister's "double standards" on the SCS issue, Goyal gave a presentation on the Centre's special assistance to the state. "After getting double benefit from the Centre in the form of a revenue deficit grant and a special (economic) assistance measure, Naidu was now misleading the people by demanding the SCS purely for political reasons," he said.
He lashed out at Naidu for carrying out a "malicious propaganda and spreading falsehoods" only to "hide his own failures, corruption and unpopularity" and alleged that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has been reduced to a "private limited company". "On one hand, he is indulging in huge corruption and on the other, nominating members of his family as (electoral) candidates. He is running away from investigations (by the CBI, ED and the Income Tax Department) because all his corruption is coming uncovered," he said.
Accusing the TDP chief of ditching former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government and now the Narendra Modi government, the senior BJP leader claimed that the people of Andhra Pradesh have decided to ditch Naidu now. Hitting out at the Congress and the TDP, he said the two "corrupt parties", came together in the recent Telangana Assembly elections and Naidu got a "taste of his unpopularity".
"He has now ditched even the Congress by not continuing the alliance in Andhra Pradesh," Goyal said. The BJP, he asserted, never ditches friends and works with partners together. Former state chief secretary I Y R Krishna Rao, who headed the BJP manifesto committee, said political empowerment of all sections was the prime promise incorporated in the manifesto.
"The BJP will provide a transparent, corruption-free and responsible administration and empower all sections politically. Since the existing districts in the state are large in size, the party will undertake a reorganisation exercise to make each Lok Sabha constituency a district," Rao said, highlighting the salient features of the manifesto.