For the past three days, Telangana ministers have been tearing apart the BJP government for its callous attitude towards the new-born state.

 

State finance minister Etala Rajender, power minister Jagadeswar Reddy, deputy chief minister Mahmood Ali, MP Jitender Reddy, etc., have been reeling out facts and figures to prove the Modi government’s apathy towards Telangana.

 

Except for what was recommended by the fourteenth finance commission, they alleged, nothing extra had come from the centre, even though the state was in the throes of bifurcation.

 

The delay in the revival of Ramagundam fertilizer plant, lack of clarity on setting up of  Bayyaram steel plant,  delay in the release of backward district package fund, and inadequate drought relief have been cited as just some examples by the ministers.

 

The complaints are directly related to a speech made by Amit Shah during his visit to the state last week. The BJP national president visited Suryapet in Nalgonda district on June 10. Addressing a rally there as part of Vikas Parv celebrations, Shah seems to have rubbed the TRS on the wrong way when he said BJP alone had the capacity to develop the state and bring its governance back on rails.

 

Triggering controversy, he further said the centre had given ₹90,000 crore to Telangana. TRS ministers pounced upon Shah to prove this was a lie.

 

“Shah is misleading the Telangana public. The ₹90,000 crore central help is utter falsehood. Our government got only ₹15,345 crore in 2014-15 and ₹19,944 crore in 2015-16, totalling ₹35,289 crore,” they said.

 

This is not the first time that Amit Shah fomented political controversy with his statements about central assistance.  In March 2016, when he visited Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, Amit Shah raised a similar political storm by stating that centre had released ₹1.25 lakh crore to Andhra Pradesh.

 

This assertion came at a time when chief minister Naidu himself was campaigning against the meagre central help it had received for capital construction, backward districts, Hudhud compensation, etc.

 

Taking cue from the party president, anti-TDP hawks in the BJP stepped up their campaign against Naidu by demanding accounts for the central funds. They accused Naidu of diverting the central funds to Naidu’s favourite schemes. The controversy Shah created in AP, refuses die down even after three months.

 

What is Amit Shah up to in Telugu States?

 

The Bharatiya Janata Party sees a bright future for itself in the Telugu states, where the principal opposition is disappearing owing to defections into ruling parties.

 

The BJP hopes to become an alternative to YSRC in Andhra and Congress in Telangana. This is the reason for Amit Shah’s confrontationist attitude in AP and Telangana.

 

He wants to prove two things, one, the development in these states, if there is anything, is because of Modi’s generosity and two, the BJP alone can develop these states on the lines of Gujarat.

 

 One can almost see Amit Shah’s eyes sparkle with the anticipation of the saffron invading the yellow (TDP) and pink (TRS) lands soon.

 

The BJP has never been a favourite party of Telugu people. Neither Advani’s Rath Yatra, nor the great premiership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, enthused the Telugus.

 

The people living in Krishna, Godavari and Penna basins refused to be disengaged even by charisma of Narendra Modi from the existing ruling parties of these states. While the party has never won a single Assembly seat or Lok Sabha seat without help from Telugu Desam party in Andhra areas, the situation is slightly better in Telangana, where it won four MLA seats and one MP seat on its own.

 

Now, with the weakening of the Congress in Telangana and YSRC in Andhra Pradesh, Amit Shah sees for the first time Telugu lands turning fertile for growing saffron in future.

 

“We are hopeful of becoming the alternative to Telugu Desam in Andhra and TRS in Telangana.  In these sates, there is no opposition in two states. Congress is disappearing.  We will soon emerge as the viable alternative to ruling parties under the able leadership of Prime Minister Modi,” said a vice president of BJP from Andhra Pradesh on condition of anonymity.

 

“The BJP is hallucinating. Defection of a few MLAs would not be seen end of the road for Congress. The party has a strong base. Very soon, people would realize what type government they have chosen and come back to the Congress. BJP president Amit Shah will get disappointed,” Congress chief spokesperson Shravan Dasoju remarked.