The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naidu back, PM promises in kitty

New Delhi, June 21: Snubbed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who refused to meet an all-party delegation led by him, Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu left for Hyderabad this evening after bagging twin promises from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Vajpayee assured the Andhra Pradesh chief minister that the Centre would act immediately on the controversial Paragodu project and Karnataka’s bid to increase the height of the Uppertunga dam.

The delegation — comprising representatives from the ruling Desam, Opposition Congress, the BJP and Left parties — alleged that the upper riparian Karnataka was violating the inter-state agreements and the Centre’s orders and going ahead with projects that were harming the interests of Andhra Pradesh.

The Prime Minister promised to send teams for field study and to collect information and added that he would get the issues thoroughly examined.

However, after the meeting with Vajpayee, parties in the delegation began trading blame, saying the issue had taken on a political hue after an appointment with Sonia was sought.

Naidu, who had convened a news conference, cancelled the briefing. However, when reporters persisted, he met them an hour later, but refused to say anything on the row. “This is an issue I do not want to comment (on) today,” he said.

Congress leaders Mysoora Reddy and Diwakar Reddy, however, briefed reporters and slammed Naidu for trying to politicise the issue. The Congress leaders said the chief minister’s office had asked a junior officer in Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in Delhi to fix an appointment with the Congress president.

They said the delegation had been told they would meet constitutional heads like the Prime Minister and the President. “How is Sonia Gandhi connected with the issue' It is between two states in a federal set-up and should be solved through the office of constitutional authorities.”

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