Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu talks to Abantika Ghosh on how his ties with the BJP soured and his vision for Amaravati. Excerpts:
You have just finished a joint rally, yet the Opposition could not even put together alliances in states such as West Bengal and Delhi.
There are some political compulsions because of which people are fighting each other. But people have made up their minds. They would prefer those who they think can defeat BJP. Before these elections, the BJP lost four elections. Why?… How many seats do you think they can win in South India? But people have to understand what they are doing is unprecedented. They are telling helicopter companies that do not give helicopters to anybody but the BJP. This has never happened. Everybody has to understand that. Click here for more election news.
The Prime Minister called you a “U-turn chief minister”.
It is he who has taken a U-turn. I have always been straight. In Tirupati, he had promised special category status to meet the provisions of the bifurcation. In four years, I met him and his ministers 29 times (on the issue). They never listened to me. It is unfortunate for him to be talking like this now. He should look back on what he promised and what he delivered. He cannot cheat Andhra Pradesh any longer.
BJP president Amit Shah has accused you of delusional politics
Who is Amit Shah? I do not want to say but please tell me where he was before 2014. What else do you expect him to say? Please look into his history. What else can one expect from people like Amit Shah and Jagan Mohan Reddy? Jagan has 31 cases, 24 times he came to the Assembly and 240 times he went to court. They have to understand that everybody is fighting for this great nation. We fought against Indira Gandhi too but compared to that, this fight is much more. She never used ED, Income Tax (department) or Election Commission.
The BJP has said that if it comes to power, they will return the Amaravati land to farmers. Your comments
Amaravati is a dream capital. After bifurcation, we didn’t have any place to sit and we also lost revenue. We had 46 per cent of the revenue for 58.3 per cent people. We had the right to stay in Hyderabad for 10 years. Then I gave a call to farmers to join me in land pooling and promised them good returns… We got land worth Rs 50,000 crore and we are now building infrastructure worth Rs 50,000 crore. We will have the best hospital, the best school, the best university. It took me nine years to build Hyderabad. After 10-15 years, see what Amaravati becomes. It will be the most beautiful city. Already people are talking about it. I am very sure that eventually it will be among the world’s top five cities.
What are the poll issues for Andhra Pradesh this time?
There is focus on welfare. Even rich states cannot do the kind of welfare we have done. There is the issue of Rs 1 lakh crore that KCR has to give us. Instead of giving it, he is abusing and calling us names. There is collusion between Modi, KCR and Jagan. People understand that. They have confidence in me, in the work I have done and they are also conscious of what BJP has done to Andhra Pradesh.