The expenditure was mentioned in government orders published on the state government website
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's daylong hunger strike demanding special status for his state cost the state nearly Rs 11 crore.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief staged 'Dharma Porata Deeksha' (daylong protest for justice) at the Andhra Bhavan in the national capital from 8 am to 8 pm on February 11.
For this, the government ordered the release of nearly Rs 11 crore from state funds. The expenditure was mentioned in government orders (GOs) published on the state government’s website.
According to a GO issued by the General Administration department on February 6, the government sanctioned Rs 1.12 crore to hire two special trains to take Naidu’s supporters to Delhi in order to attend the protest.
“Government after careful examination hereby accord administrative sanction for an amount of Rs.1,12,16,465/- (Rupees One Crore Twelve Lakhs Sixteen Thousand Four Hundred and sixty Five only) to IRCTC Ltd,” read the GO.
On the same day, the Finance Department also issued an order (GO number 215) mentioning the order to release Rs 10 crore for “meeting the expenditure” of the one-day protest in New Delhi. Funds were provided for “arrangement of trains for providing transportation of participants from different regions of AP State and payment of other bills”.
After the issue surfaced, the government drew criticism for spending extravagantly on the protest. In response to the reports, the government issued a clarification saying only Rs 2 crore was spent for the protest and that the Budget Release Order refers to the provision of Rs 8 crore for other state functions, as per an India Today report.
The hunger strike became a rallying point for various opposition leaders who visited the protest venue to back him and attack the central government.Congress president Rahul Gandhi, National Congress chairperson Farooq Abdullah, NCP's Majeed Memon, Trinamool Congress' Derek O' Brien, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut were among those who met the TDP chief to express their support.