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The BJP has planned a major outreach programme in Andhra Pradesh to “inform the people” that the financial package announced for the state offers “not only equivalent but more” than special category status.
With the party facing criticism for the Centre’s failure in granting special status, top leaders will head to Andhra to highlight the “gains the state has made with the package”. The party is also preparing a short film on the Centre’s support, which will be released in October.
State BJP in-charge Sidharth Nath Singh said Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was fully on board, and would lead the TDP-BJP drive to inform the masses about the deal’s contours. “For the Opposition parties the key issue is the term ‘special category status’. What has been announced is not only equivalent to it but is in fact more than that,” he said.
According to Singh, the Pollavaram project under special category status would have been partially funded by the central government. But now the Centre will assist the state to bear the costs.
Singh also said grants of over Rs 22,500 crore would be given to the state till 2020 besides an additional grant of Rs 7,500 crore for 2014-15. “There is no loss for the state, rather a gain from what they would have got under the special category status,” he said. The BJP will also highlight central aid for projects in Visakhpatnam, which is in the coastal region where the party is gaining ground.