BJP lashes out at Kalyan, says AP’s concerns addressed

New Delhi: Facing flak in Andhra Pradesh after the Centre did not grant special category status to the state, BJP on Sunday said there is no provision for it under the 14th Finance Commission and asserted that the financial package will address the concerns over revenue deficit.

It also condemned the attack on its senior leader and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu by Telugu film star and Jana Sena Party founder Pawan Kalyan and called him the “third rotten laddoo” of the state after Congress and YSR Congress. Kalyan has attacked Naidu for his “failure” to get special category status to Andhra Pardesh despite “repeated promises”.

“When the special category status for the AP was being talked about neither we were in the government nor we knew 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,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said on Sunday.

“Manmohan Singh accepted 14th Finance Commission report in January 2014. We came to power in May. He did not include special status in the report,” he said.

The Centre had last week announced a financial package for the state that included full funding of the Polavaram irrigation project, tax concessions and special assistance.

Andhra Pradesh has been demanding a Special Category State (SCS) status from the Centre ever since its economic powerhouse Hyderabad, which housed several IT and pharmaceutical companies as well as PSUs, went to Telengana in the bifurcation.

“In the report, there is no provision 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,” he said.

“Once that is done, there can’t be any special or general category,” he added.

However, there are various mechanism in the 14th Commission called the revenue deficit grant, he said adding, “Three states have been accepted as revenue deficit, which also include Andhra Pradesh”.

On Kalyan’s diatribe against Naidu, Singh said that “there are two rotten ladoos in Andhra –Congress and YSR Congress. Now the third is Jan Sena of Pawan Kalyan, which is trying to join them.”

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