In one of his sharpest attacks at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today said "the prime minister is a publicity PM, but what we want is a performing prime minister." Speaking at the mega opposition rally in Kolkata organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Mr Naidu said the BJP-led government has betrayed the nation.
"Five years ago, people gave the mandate for the BJP. They betrayed the nation. They gave slogans. Jan Dhan, mudra loan, good governance, smart cities, bringing back black money, two crore jobs, acche din. These are all slogans," he said.
Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which had been demanding a special category status for Andhra Pradesh from the centre, walked out of the ruling alliance led by the BJP in March last year. Despite numerous meetings with the central leadership, the TDP chief was unsuccessful in getting the recognition for his state.
He started his 13-minute speech by acknowledging the contributions of freedom fighters from Bengal.
"We have only one ambition. Save India, save democracy. The BJP wants to divide India, we want to unite India. That's why all the leaders are here today," Mr Naidu said. He went on to criticise the Modi government over the Rafale jet controversy and the notes ban, which he said hit farmers and small traders hard. "Even GST is a fraud. Today you are seeing economic growth is stagnant."
Amid allegations that the BJP was trying to destabilise the coalition government in Karnataka, where legislators have been shepherded into resorts to prevent horse-trading, Mr Naidu said the Modi government was trying to interfere in the federal setup.
"They are harassing states. If you see Kashmir, how they behaved there... Even in Karnataka, it is an elected government but they want to manipulate and destabilise the Karnataka government. They are going to pay a heavy price," Mr Naidu said. "(Chief Minister) HD Kumaraswamy has rightly mentioned just now they (BJP) are offering huge money to MLAs; they want to purchase them just like animals."
The TDP considers the demand for special status an emotional issue for the people of Andhra Pradesh. Just before it pulled out of the central coalition, it claimed that the BJP had supported special category status when it was in opposition, but failed to fulfil its promise.
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