Telugu actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan on Friday attacked the ruling TDP-BJP over the issue of special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh, after, prompting a swift retaliation by BJP, which branded him a “political opportunist and a Twitter tiger”. Kalyan, who campaigned extensively for TDP-BJP candidates in the 2014 elections, has been critical of the combine for its failure to fulfil the promise of SCS made to the state.
Kalyan told reporters that he found fault with the development package announced for Andhra Pradesh by the Centre as he was told by certain experts that there was nothing new in it. He was told that the package was actually the share of funds and benefits AP was supposed to get in the normal course. Kalyan said the AP government should have given permission for a protest proposed to be held yesterday in Visakhapatnam by some youth.
Taking exception to the remarks of Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu that SCS to AP was a closed chapter, he accused him of not doing enough to make the Centre deliver on the promise. Kalyan alleged that the NDA government has been “unilateral as seen in issues like Rohith Vemula (suicide and its fallout) and demonetisation.” Alleging that the TDP government has become a “mini-BJP”, Kalyan asked Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to explain why he “compromised” on the SCS issue. He pointed out that his association with TDP-BJP was on people’s issues and asked why he should side with them now.
Condemning Kalyan’s comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP and Venkaiah Naidu, Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said the remarks were unwarranted. “No one who understands basic tenets of governance will make silly statements like he (Kalyan) made in his press conference on Friday. Pawan Kalyan is a political opportunist and a Twitter Tiger. He is trying to ride a readymade wave, if someone can drive it,” Rao said.
Kalyan lacked the sincerity of purpose and maturity to address people’s concerns structurally, he said. “His personal statements against Venkaiah Naidu only expose his bankruptcy of purpose and clarity of thought. Blaming PM Modi for (denial of) permission for a rally in Vizag is something which only someone with Pawan Kalyan’s level of maturity can do,” Rao said. Kalyan should focus on “real issues of real people” rather than making “baseless and juvenile” allegations against BJP and its national leaders, Rao added.
Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister had announced special category status for Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) in Parliament when the bill for bifurcation of undivided AP was passed. Top BJP leaders had then also backed it. However, the NDA government announced a package of economic benefits for the state, insisting that SCS cannot be given following the recommendations of 14th Finance ommission.