MoS in PMO makes light of Naidu’s claim on central aid to AP

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Amaravati: Minister of State in the PMO Dr Jitendra Singh on Wednesday made light of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s claims on Central assistance to the State, remarking that all what he said was “not the gospel truth”.

“The Prime Minister’s Office never intervened nor directed reversal of Central funds (of Rs 350 crore) granted for backward districts development. Is there anything in writing to prove this? What all the CM says is not the gospel truth,” the MoS said.

He was referring to Chandrababu’s repeated claims that the backward districts development grant was ‘taken back’ by the Centre after crediting it in the State’s account. The MoS interacted with mediapersons here as part of his visit to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the last four years.

He also condemned the TDP president’s criticism of BJP chief Amit Shah over submission of utilisation certificates (for Central grants). “As the head of a political party, cant he (Shah) make a political statement?” Jitendra Singh asked.

The Union Minister said only “domestic (political) compulsions led to the exit of TDP from the NDA.” “For three years and nine months, they were very comfortable (with the Centre), but suddenly there seemed to be a new enlightenment. The TDP wanted to walkout only because of political factors. The BJP never prompted it,” he pointed out, adding that Andhra Pradesh was still on the Centre’s priority.

He said the Centre had never said it would not support the building of the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh. “We were ready to go about (the process), but the TDP only preferred to go out,” he observed.

On the demand for according Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh, Jitendra Singh said except the nomenclature, the Centre was ready to extend all benefits in the form of a special economic package. “But politically it suited others (TDP) to not accept the special package. So they started making a row. Had there been a spirit of mutual cooperation, this situation would not have arisen. But the TDP weighed only political considerations,” he noted.