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  India   BJP, Pawan Kalyan ties sour over Andhra Pradesh state issue

BJP, Pawan Kalyan ties sour over Andhra Pradesh state issue

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Sep 12, 2016, 1:07 am IST
Updated : Sep 12, 2016, 1:07 am IST

Once described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “bright youngster who embodied the Telugu spirit”, Telugu cinema’s “power star”, Pawan Kalyan, on Sunday turned into a “rotten laddoo”.

Once described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “bright youngster who embodied the Telugu spirit”, Telugu cinema’s “power star”, Pawan Kalyan, on Sunday turned into a “rotten laddoo”. This appellation comes after he had attacked the BJP, accusing it of stabbing Andhra Pradesh in the “stomach” over the issue of granting special status to the state.

Andhra Pradesh has been demanding a special category state (SCS) status from the Centre ever since its bifurcation.

Toeing the line taken by the government in Parliament on the issue, the BJP on Sunday said that there was no provision for it under the 14th Finance Commission and asserted that the financial package would take into account concerns over the revenue deficit. It also condemned the attack on its senior leader and Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu by Mr Kalyan and called him the “third rotten laddoo” of the state after the Congress and YSR Congress.

Mr Kalyan, whose political outfit Jana Sena Party supported the TDP-BJP government, described the rec-ently-released special financial package to the state as “two stale laddoos”. The Telugu superstar had often shared the dais during campaign rallies with then NDA prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who had described him as “a bright youngster who em-bodies the Telugu spirit and is committed to serving pe-ople”. But things seem to have changed now as Mr Kalyan has vowed to fight till Andhra Pradesh is gran-ted special status as promised.

He accused both the Congress and the BJP of creating instability in the two states (AP and Telan-gana) and demanded that they apologise to the people.

Facing flak in AP over the issue, the BJP tried to explain that when the special category status for the state was being talked about “neither were we in the government nor did we know about the (recommendations of the) 14th Finance Commission”.

“The commission’s report was submitted to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2014. But the report was not implemented by his government. It was, instead, implemented by us (the NDA government) after coming to power,” said BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh, while insisting that Dr Singh accepted the 14th Finance Commission report in January 2014 and NDA came to power in May.

The BJP said that as per the report, there was no provision for granting SCS now for dividing the states on special and general basis for giving them certain financial packages or for the purpose of devolution of central taxes.

However, there were various mechanisms in the 14th commission, called the revenue deficit grant, and thr-ee states had been accepted, including Andhra Pradesh.

“We condemn Pawan Kalyan’s utterances about our senior leader Venkaiah Naidu and personal attack on him,” said Mr Singh, while seeking an apology from him on this.

In Hyderabad, Mr Naidu said that the financial package of Rs 2.25 lakh crore, announced by the Centre for Andhra Pradesh, would benefit the state more than the special category status.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi