TDP, BJP at loggerheads in AP; intensify battle

Ch RS Sarma AM Jigeesh Vijayawada/New Delhi | Updated on March 08, 2018 Published on March 08, 2018

TDP leaders Ashok Gajapathi Raju (left) and YS Chowdary address the press at the former’s residence, in New Delhi on Thursday   -  PTI

The two BJP ministers in the State Cabinet resign

As the political tussle between the ruling Telugu Desam Party and the BJP intensified over the special category status promised to Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation and related issues, the two BJP ministers in the State Cabinet — Health Minister K Srinivas and Endowments Minister P Manikyala Rao — on Thursday submitted their resignation letters to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

The two parties which joined hands in a pre-poll alliance in 2014 are right now estranged and separated, but the TDP will continue to be in the NDA coalition. The alliance had won a comfortable 106 out of the 175 seats in the State Assembly and 17 out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats.

In the national capital, former Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Y Sujana Chowdary explained that the people of AP were emotional, expectant and restive because of the enormous delay in fulfilling the promises and the denial of the special category status.

‘No compromises’

“We are left with no option but to quit, and the Prime Minister has been briefed,” they said after submitting their resignations to the PM.

Earlier on Wednesday, after marathon meetings and discussions with party MPs, legislators and leaders, Naidu stated: “It is pointless to stay on in the Union Cabinet if our point of view is completely ignored. We cannot, and will not, compromise on the interests of the State.”

The quit point was the denial of the promised SCS to the State, the alleged non-fulfilment of promises made by the Centre and the non-implementation of the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, according to the TDP leaders.

On the Centre’s part, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gave a categorical no for SCS, even citing the 14th Finance Commission as a reason. But the Centre was willing to work out special packages for various projects including the Polavaram irrigation project and for State capital Amaravati.

‘Cong, BJP to be blamed’

In the State Assembly on Thursday, the Chief Minister made a caustic comment on the role of national parties. “The so-called national parties should have a national outlook, policy and perspective, and because both the Congress and the BJP lack that, AP finds itself in the present mess. Both are equally to blame — the Congress first for bifurcating the State in a most unjust, improper and undemocratic manner, and the BJP now for denying the promised assistance. The Congress was taught a lesson by the people of the State in 2014, but unfortunately the BJP is on the same path now,” Naidu said.

Meanwhile, Jagan Mohan Reddy, the leader of the main Opposition YSR Congress, said his party had always insisted on the granting of special category status to the State, but “the Chief Minister was very dismissive of us.”

“He (Naidu) lacks sincerity and commitment on the issue. Even now, he has not withdrawn from the NDA. Earlier, he accepted the special package with great alacrity and has now taken a U-turn.

“I am glad he has seen the light at last. If the TDP moves a no-confidence motion against the government on the issue, we will support it. Or else, we ourselves will move it and let the TDP support it later this month.”

Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, who has been increasing his political presence and fighting for the special status, expressed anguish at the developments. He said he saw a trend of North-South differences building up due to the attitude of the BJP.

Published on March 08, 2018

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