In the din of the growing high-voltage agitation that is building up for special category status for Andhra Pradesh, BJP state president K Haribabu has raised a valid question. If the State is able to land investments in lakhs of crores of rupees through partnership summits, where is the case for special category status?

The BJP leader was referring to the statistics reeled off by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at the third edition of the three-day partnership summit that began in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

According to available statistics, in the last three years investors had signed 1,946 MoUs, committing an investment of Rs. 13.5 lakh crore. Of them, 531 companies have already come up with an investment of over Rs one lakh crore and a quite number of MoUs are in various stages of execution. The target is to get Rs.10 lakh crore investments with a potential to create 20 lakh jobs in the next five years.

Naidu has unwittingly given grist to the BJP mill that it could not have been on the dream journey without Centre’s help.

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For Haribabu, the partnership summit came in handy to reiterate his party’s stand that special category status could not be granted to any State after the 14th Finance Commission had made it redundant. But the point here is that if Naidu is painting a glorious future for the investors where is the need for special category status.

Naidu was selling AP as an investment destination since it is his duty, but it does not mean that he does not want special category status if the BJP comes down several steps condescendingly and hand over the manna, which is highly unlikely.

The special category status is like a carrot for the investors and who would does not want concessions if offered, particularly the investors? Haribabu’s point that investors would not care much for concessions, but they would only look for a infrastructure both physical and social for making investments, might not hold water.

It would be naïve to think that Naidu believes that he would get special category status for AP if he intimidates the BJP. He knows he would not but when he said special category status is AP’s right, he was only trying to wrest the political initiative from YSRC chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who fast gaining a political edge by turning it into an emotive issue.

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At a time when the Centre seemed to be mellowing down and addressing the issues that the TDP had raised, Jaganmohan Reddy, sensing Naidu was stealing a march over him, went into a high-octane campaign that special category status alone would work as panacea to all of the State’s economic ills.

As he is already on a padayatra, he is already hauling Naidu over the coals on the issue every day and taunting him if he was ready for a no- confidence motion in Lok Sabha and even offered to work with him if he joins hands and move towards moving such a motion. Naidu, who saw the trap that was being laid, stuck to his original script of agitation to building pressure on the Centre for release of funds.

Even as Naidu and Reddy kept moving in parallel lines with more or less the same speed, emerged on to the scene Pawan Kalyan with a proposal that a joint fact-finding committee be formed to find out what the Centre had promised and what it had given, despite the fact that it is there in black and white.

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YSRC dubbed Pawan Kalyan’s action as part of Naidu’s strategy to increase the heat on the Centre while the TDP accused Jagan of going soft with BJP to ease him off the CBI hook.

In this din, the BJP has found partnership summit as a convenient weapon to beat Naidu with. Naidu’s BJP gadfly Somu Veeraraju washes the dirty linen in public, raising his voice by several octaves every day against Naidu, the other leaders of the saffron party too are heaping abuses on TDP.

Already, the BJP has released a list as long as one’s arm of what it had done for the State and why Naidu was still thirsty. Veeraraju dared Naidu why he was demanding special category status at a time when he had said those demanding status would have to go jail. #KhabarLive



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