Andhra: Accepting Special Package Was Naidu's Big MistakeThe question of providing Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh was perhaps settled in 2014 when the then PM, Manmohan Singh, assured in the Rajya Sabha that the successor state of Andhra Pradesh will be accorded the status for five years. There is no doubt that the bifurcation of Andhra had left the successor state without a capital and most of its industrial units, which went to Telengana. In such a scenario, it needed to be compensated by enhanced assistance from the Centre for some period. But since general elections were due in May, the UPA II government could not make it effective.
By Sunil Garodia
After that, when the NDA came to power, the Andhra government headed by Chandrababu Naidu became an ally. When the question of SCS came up, the Centre proposed an alternative special package instead of that. Naidu, without realizing whether it would be adequate or not to meet the needs of the state, gave his nod. Now, given the political compulsions in Andhra, Naidu has left the NDA and is accusing the Centre of going back on the SCS.
Naidu must realize that a package specifically designed for Andhra and the SCS cannot go hand in hand. It has to be either of the two. The special package was in lieu of the SCS. The nomenclature was not there, but the package was meant to address all the problems that were to be addressed by SCS. If anything, instead of making it an issue now, Naidu should have negotiated a better deal then. If the special package has failed to meet Andhras requirements, the blame is to lie on Naidus shoulders alone.
His current posturing of breaking away from the NDA is guided more by local compulsions and a desire to hide his shortcoming in negotiating a better deal for the state in the special package. With YSR Congress taking the lead and breathing down his neck, Naidu had no alternative but to show as if he could sacrifice his alliance for the benefit of Andhra Pradesh. But it is sure that the YSR Congress is going to highlight this fact in the ensuing elections. Naidu will perhaps then end up with the worst of both situations a broken alliance and a lost election.