The Hindu Business Line

Piyush Goyal challenges Chandrabab­u to a debate

‘CM spreading lies for political gains’


Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has accused Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrabab­u Naidu of deliberate­ly spreading misinforma­tion and distorting facts to defame the BJP and the NDA government for his political gains.

Making these allegation­s at a media conference here on Tuesday, Goyal said, “I challenge Sri Naidu to a debate on what the NDA government has done for AP during the past five years and whether the BJP has really let down the people of Andhra Pradesh as he is alleging. I have all the facts and figures at my command and I shall prove conclusive­ly that he is on a vilificati­on campaign to cover up his failures and corruption.”

Vacillatio­n alleged

He said the Chief Minister had agreed for a special package in lieu Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with Visakhapat­nam BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha D Purandeswa­ri and Visakhapat­nam North Assembly candidate P Vishnu Kumar Raju at a media conference in Visakhapat­nam

of the promised special category status and then after sometime he took a U-turn and revived the demand for special status. Then, he alleged, the Chief Minister got into an unholy alliance with the Congress and other such parties and started abusing the BJP day in and day out.

Goyal said the TDP was mired in corruption and the cost of Polavaram mega irrigation project on the Godavari had been hiked five times. “You can imagine the scale

of corruption and he expects the Centre to pay for his corruption,” he alleged.

Railway zone

On the Visakhapat­nam railway zone, he alleged that on the issue too the TDP and the Chief Minister were misleading the people of Andhra Pradesh. “An impression is being created that we have abolished the Waltair division without any reason. Where is the need for a separate Waltair division when we are giving you a full-fledged zone?” he asked. When reporters asked him whether the railway stations in Vizianagar­am and Srikakulam districts would be included in the Visakhapat­nam zone, and pointed out to him that there was a lot of confusion on the issue, the Minister looked lost but the local BJP leaders replied that they would be in the zone.

The Minister then added, “I have not come prepared for a press meet on the zone. But the interests of Andhra Pradesh will be taken care of and there need not be any doubts on that count, whatever may be the doubts the Chief Minister of AP is planting in the minds of people here. The details will be worked out at the Railway Board level and we have already posted an officer on special duty here for the zone.”

In response to a question on electoral bonds, he said the Congress and parties like Telugu Desam were spreading all sorts of canards about the bonds, as “they do not want clean money to come into politics. It does not suit them.”

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