By K.Manikandan, New Delhi: Chandrababu Naidu May Break With BJP This Week, Pull Ministers, Say Sources.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is expected to announce soon that his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is exiting the BJP-led national alliance NDA, after with the Centre made it clear that it will not accede to the state’s demand for “special status.”
The two TDP ministers in the union cabinet, YS Chowdary and Ashok Gajapati Raju, could resign by Saturday, sources said. A survey among the TDP cadre showed that 95 per cent favour ending the partnership with the BJP, struck just ahead of the 2014 national election. Mr Naidu is expected to address the state assembly today.
“Chandrababu Naidu could take a decision on ending the alliance within a day or two. I believe it will be beneficial for the TDP,” party MP Siva Prasad told to a leading News Channel.
TDP lawmakers have continuously pressured the government ever since the union budget was presented, disrupting Parliament by shouting slogans demanding that Andhra Pradesh be given central funding under special status, promised to the state when it was bifurcated to carve out a new state Telangana.
Other parties have joined in. Apart from Andhra Pradesh’s chief opposition partythe YSR Congress, lawmakers from the Congress and Trinamool Congress too protested in Parliament on Tuesday.
“We will give special category status to Andhra Pradesh. It’s the first thing we will do after coming to power in 2019,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi told a group of party workers who protested at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi urged opposition parties to unite to “force the BJP government to do justice to the people of Andhra.”
The TDP has been deeply upset since Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget last month, complaining that it neglected Andhra Pradesh. The TDP pulled back from the brink of a break-up but warned that the Centre must make a big announcement for Andhra Pradesh before the ongoing Budget session ends.
The YSR Congress Party of Jagan Reddy has announced that all its five members of Parliament will resign on April 6 if the demand for special status is not met. Chandrababu Naidu wants a multi-crore central assistance package that was promised in Parliament when the Congress-led UPA was in power. The state’s political parties say the bifurcation caused a huge revenue deficit for what was left of Andhra Pradesh.
The centre announced a “special package” in 2016 for Andhra Pradesh, but the TDP claims no funds have been released under the package. Chandrababu Naidu says he agreed to a special package only because the Centre said there would no longer be any special category state.
The Finance Minister has argued that the state has already been given an advance of rs 12,500 crore without any tangible work being done like starting construction of a new capital. The government is wary of giving in to the TDP demand since it could result in such demands being raised by other states.