Amaravati: Unlike his previous trips to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s latest visit has come under attack from the opposition parties, dubbing it as a “publicity stunt” and alleging he was not an invitee to the event but a paid delegate.
The state government has spent Rs 7,52,57,500 for its show in Davos, including setting up the ‘AP Lounge’ for marketing “Sunrise Andhra Pradesh” with the Chief Minister himself carrying the mantle.
Of the total sum, Rs 69.30 lakh was spent for the accommodation of the delegation, including the Chief Minister, the Finance Minister and senior officials, according to official figures. Another Rs 44.27 lakh was spent on putting up the state’s billboard on a star hotel in Davos.
The delegation was sanctioned Rs 54.72 lakh as “advance” towards airfare, daily allowance, breakfast, lunch, dinner and purchase of shawls and mementos (for visitors to the AP Lounge).
A sum of Rs 6.39 crore was paid to CII for putting up the AP Lounge on the sidelines of WEF conference, where the Chief Minister held meetings with top executives of various multinational companies, soliciting investments into the state.
Principal Opposition YSR Congress party alleged that the Chief Minister was not an “invitee” to the WEF meet and was just a paid delegate.
“Chandrababu was never invited by the WEF as being claimed but he paid a whopping $ 3.22 lakh, as delegate fee, from the government coffers to attend the conference,” YSRC spokesman Ambati Rambabu alleged.
Neither the Chief Minister’s Office nor the Telugu Desam Party has reacted to these allegations.
“There is no transparency involved in the Chief Minister’s WEF visits. He is simply taking people of the state for a grand ride in the name of attracting investments,” AP Congress Committee vice-president and former Speaker of Assembly Nadendla Manohar said.
Manohar wanted the CM to come clean on this. CPM leader Hanumantha Rao has also criticised Naidu’s visit and alleged that it did not yield any results.
The state government’s advisor (communications), however, claimed that Naidu was a “key speaker” as chief guest in atleast seven WEF sessions. Notably, Chandrababu’s communication team did not issue any release on what he spoke at the sessions in Davos, except one on “Preparing for the City Century” on January 17.