State minister calls the action ‘senseless’ Amaravati (AP), Jan 4 (PTI) The Centre has asked Andhra Pradesh to prune the size of a proposed delegation led by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to the coming World Economic Forum meet in Davos in Switzerland, with the state government accusing it of attempting to sabotage the trip.

The Centre also wanted the duration of the trip scheduled later this month to be limited to four days and not seven as proposed, official sources here said Friday.

State Information Technology Minister and son of the chief Minister Nara Lokesh termed the recommendations senseless and alleged the Centre was trying to sabotage Naidu’s Davos trip.

As has been the practice for many years now, the state government forwarded a list of 15-member delegation headed by Naidu to attend the WEFs 49th annual meeting from January 20 to 26 and sought the mandatory political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the sources said.

The delegation includes, state Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Lokesh, six IAS officers and six other officers, including the CMs two chief security officers.

The entire expenditure of the trip is to be borne by the state government.

While according political clearance for the visit, the MEA recommended that the delegation be restricted to five delegates, including the Chief Minister, and that the duration of the trip be reduced to four days and not seven.

The Ministry of External Affairs has no objection from the political angle, the Centre informed the state in an online response to the application Thursday night, the sources said.

Last year, the state delegation comprised 12 members headed by the Chief Minister and the outcome anticipated from that visit was mentioned as negotiations.

This year, the state government cited MoU as the anticipated outcome from the Davos visit but did not specify other details.

Reacting to the MEAs communication, Lokesh accused the Centre of seeking to sabotage the AP delegations Davos trip.

Call it envy or revenge, the Centre is now trying hard to sabotage “@ncbn (Naidus) Davos trip by imposing senseless sanctions.

“Does bringing investments to AP not mean bringing investments to India? Why is the @narendramodi Govt harassing AP Govt so much, Lokesh asked in a series of tweets Friday.

What wrong have the Telugu people done to deserve this, he wondered.

He also claimed that the state had risen to become the most preferred state in the country for investments with “zero support” from the Centre and only Naidu’s “hard work and grit”.

“Its No.1 #EaseOfDoingBusiness for a reason. @ncbns participation and networking with investors at the annual @wefs event in @Davos has led to many triumphs for the state, Lokesh claimed.

Naidu’s annual Davos trips have become a subject of controversy in the political circles here.

The main opposition YSR Congress said the chief minister was only a paid delegate and not an invitee as being claimed by the government.

Chandrababu was never invited by the WEF as being claimed but he paid a whopping $3.22 lakh, as delegate fee, from the government coffers to attend the conference, YSRC official spokesman Ambati Rambabu alleged.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.