The Real Drama behind Special Package
Organiser   06-Feb-2019
Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to walk out of NDA smacks of his political brinkmanship, immature leadership and his dilemma to BJP’s growing influence in his own backyard. Instead of forging ahead resolutely on future partnership, he seems to have stooped too low for narrow political gains
R Rajagopalan
 
There seems to be no limit to how far Chandrababu Naidu can go, to secure special package to Andhra Pradesh. His political blackmailing of PM Narendra Modi and the Central Government to give in to his demand smacks of political brinkmanship in national politics and centre-state relations.


 
These were the three real demands of Chandrababu Naidu. But the outside perception was that Naidu made it look like as if it was about the issue of special package to his divided state of AP. As Naidu failed to get any assurance from Modi or the Centre, he began to distance himself from BJP. He even called it a ‘breach of promise. All of a sudden, for TDP, the ‘honey moon’ came to an bitter end, with Naidu accusing the PM of betrayal. In fact, Chandrababu Naidu wanted the Centre to politically restrain his arch-rival Jagan Reddy. Naidu was demanding a special package for Andhra but while meeting Prime Minister Modi his whole intention was simply a series of diktats to Modi. “Give me money, arrest Jagan Reddy, sack the Governor” as he seemed to lean too much towards KSR of Telangana”.
 
Special Drama It is worth remembering that Naidu came to power on the promise of a special package to Andhra Pradesh after it was split into two states - Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Special package was a part of the division of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. At the fag end of UPA 2, it was a pet project of Ms Sonia Gandhi to split Andhra Pradesh into two. And she was aggressive in getting it the hack job done.
 
P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh, the two stalwarts of Sonia Gandhi, were entrusted with the job of spliting Andhra Pradesh. As their tenure was nearing an end in 2013, all tall promises were made in the Andhra Bifurcation Bill. If you add up these promises made by Sonia Gandhi-led UPA, it was 10 lakh crores. Where are the funds from New Delhi? Jairam Ramesh was on record saying that there was a Modi wave in 2014 and that no question of UPA3, hence make all announcements that Andhra Pradesh will get 'moon"
  • “Give me money, arrest Jagan Reddy, and sack the Governor”. The three diktats of Naidu to PM Modi 
  • politically he became greedy, as he failed showcase his pet theory of Amaravati as the Capital of AP
 
 
The argument for splitting AP was that while Telangana had all the wealth and resources along with a well-established Hyderabad as its capital, the residuary Andhra Pradesh has often been devastated by drought and cyclones. Hence Andhra Pradesh needed special attention. Also this would have paved the way for constructing Amaravati – the new capital for Andhra Pradesh.
 
Earlier, Narendra Modi forged electoral alliance with Telugu Desam Party and both swept the polls. Modi and Naidu knew well that promises made by UPA 2 was impossible to implement. Still TDP was ready to swallow the bitter pills. It was Chandrababu Naidu who went all out to start construction of Amaravati. Naidu saw the humongous potential of ‘minting money’ behind the new capital Amaravati. He saw infact he foresaw the proverbial golden goose that would have laid the many golden eggs on way to the building the capital. And he got five international bidders offering to develop Amaravati. Delegates from Singapore, Japan and South Korea made beeline to the headquarters of Naidu. Most of the matters revolved either around buy or sell fertile agricultural lands.
 
Allocation of huge funds that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed a ‘whole year of Defence budget’ to just one state would obviously have caused a financial disaster at the Centre. A the time the Bifurcation Act in 2013 was being discussed, Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa opposed it on the grounds that Tamil Nadu too should get special package due to perennial water shortage problems in the Cauvery delta across eight districts in the state.
 
Earlier, Finance Minsiter Arun Jaitley had categorically turned down Naidu’s demand for SCS for Andhra Pradesh, saying the category has already been done away with, except in the case of the three hilly states of the North East.
So a very sad but shrewd Naidu throwing up tantrums in the middle of April, 2014, and abruptly announcing his decision to pull out of NDA coalition. While it left the political pundits and observers of national politics confounded, the proverbial storm in the tea cup had already been brewing for some time. But it lay hidden from the public.
 
On 16th April 2014, he announced his decision to call it quits over Modi-led Government’s refusal to accord special catetory status to AP, accusing PM Modi of ‘breach of promise’.
 
In a letter he wrote to Naidu, Amit Shah called Naidu’s antics a ‘political compulsions’ rather than Andhra Pradesh developmental agenda. Yes, political compulsions. That’s what it was all about. Naidu
 
‘Ground’ Reality
Chandrababu Naidu known as ‘backstabber’, as he did it to his father-in- law N T Rama Rao, was successful in 2004 to advance the Lok Sabha polls as he insisted with Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But in 2018, political blackmailing tactics of Naidu did not work with Narendra Modi. Stubourn stand of Modi not to arrest Jagan Reddy, not to remove ESL Narasimhan and stop further payments of Central funds to the state of Andhra Pradesh, as TDP Government failed to submit utilisation certificates for the money received from Centre. Politically Jagan Reddy is having a ground swell of supporters.
 
To add fuel to fire, KChandrasekhar Rao TRS has proposed alliance with YSR Congress. This will politically decimate Telugu Desam. Whichever side you look at, my enemy’s enemy is my friend that means TRS YSR Congress will they join hands post LokSabha poll 2019? These are possibilities. In this entire drama who is the loser? Is it not Chandrababu Naidu?
 
Naidu Loves Lands
Naidu loves lands. Even building Amaravati as Capital which was hurried up as the special package bill said that capital would be built in ten years. But Naidu advanced it to build capital before he gone for 2019 Assembly polls. But to his disappointment Nara Chandrababu Naidu got always scared of TRS CM Chandrasekhar Rao got nearer to Centre and that Modi was encouraging TRS against TDP.
 
Latest controversy looming large in Andhra Pradesh is that Governor ESL Narasimhan rejected the 2018 Land Acquisition Ordinance. This has caused friction between Governor and the Chief Minister. The Governor sent back the AP Assigned Lands Prohibition of transfer Ordinance 2018 with a main object to substitute the word lands or house sites assigned and to substitute the word landless poor person with the landless or homeless poor persons.
 
Naidu wants to bring this ordinance so that before Lok Sabha polls he can regularise. Politically this will benefit the Telugu Desam leaders who will be purchasing the lands in and around Amaravati and also in Vijayawada where the Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati is coming up.
 
Governor Narasimhan is of the opinion that certain clauses in the Ordinance will not stand scrutiny of the Judiciary. Fundamentally the clauses are unconstitutional. There is a tug of war between Governor ESL Narasimhan and Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for the past two years. Repeatedly Chandrababu Naidu requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw Narasimhan as Governor. Politburo of TDP commented on the Governor alleging that Narasimhan was acting on behalf of Narendra Modi.
 
Chandrababu Naidu proposed to bring an ordinance Andhra Pradesh assigned Lands prohibition of transfer amendment ordinance 2018, with a main object to substitute the word ‘lands’ assigned with the word land or house sites, assigned to substitute the world land less poor person with landless or homeless poor persons. Thus the Government wants to extend the provisions of this act to the house sites also.
 
In the present ordinance proposed by the State Government it is provided that the house sites assigned are not alienable for a period of five years. With this provision there is every danger that by taking advantage of the house sites in urban areas, urban peripherals and important rural areas may be sold away compelled to sell from poor to others and thereby the poor will remain homeless and in eligible persons may get regulrise these valuable lands in the days to come.
 
Governor's office rejecting certain clauses, and explaining the lacuna putting the approval of the ordinance on hold, the issue has been discussed with senior Andhra Government officials of the concerned department and the state Government has been directed to relook into the time frame of five years which paves the way to alienate the said assigned house sites and response of Chandrababu Naidu is awaited.
 
Andhra Pradesh enacated an act 10 of 2017 to update resettlement register in respect of dotted lands in May 2017. As per section 3 of this act, resettlement register shall be updated by replacing the dots in column 16 with appropriate entry as per section 4 in respect of dotted lands by updtaing the names of the claimants assignees wherever it is clearly not written as Government Land. Based on this Tehsildar report a District level comittee will order for updation on which appeal lies with the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration whose decision will be final.
 
When TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu started in 2014 with clean slate, he became greedy, as he failed to showcase his pet project of Amaravati.To hide his failure, Naidu began threatening to walk out of NDA. But at the end of his tenure, he had a quarrel with Governor for issuing an ordinance to acquire lands in the state. What was the main purpose? Is Naidu serious to get TDP leaders to buy lands?