TDP pulls out ministers from Centre, but softens stance to keep lines open

Gajapathi Raju and Chowdary treaded carefully Thursday evening, calling the developments “unfortunate”. Chowdary said even the Prime Minister called their decision unfortunate.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: March 9, 2018 10:36 am
TDP pulls out ministers from Centre, but softens stance to keep lines open Andhra Pradesh CM, Chandrababu Naidu. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran/File)

A day after he announced his party’s decision to walk out of the government at the Centre over the denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh, TDP leader and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday evening and, shortly thereafter, two TDP ministers submitted their resignations.

But there were indications that the TDP had not burnt bridges or severed all links with the BJP and the Prime Minister.

After resigning their posts, Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State (Science and Technology and Earth Sciences) Y Satyanarayana Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, were careful with their statements and did not target the Prime Minister.

Express Explained | Why Andhra Pradesh, Centre can’t agree on special category status

Their tone was was very different from that of Chandrababu Naidu Wednesday evening. While announcing his party’s decision, Naidu had called “the attitude of the Centre towards Andhra Pradesh… very hurtful and insulting” and warned that “resignation of the two Union ministers is the first step… We will take a call on whether to stay with NDA as a partner or not when the time comes. We have always cooperated with the Centre but the spirit of cooperative federalism is missing”.

But Gajapathi Raju and Chowdary treaded carefully Thursday evening, calling the developments “unfortunate”. Chowdary said even the Prime Minister called their decision unfortunate.

“We will be happy when marriages happen, not when divorces happen. It is not a good move but unfortunately, due to unavoidable circumstances, we had to take this move. We are stepping down as ministers, but our president has said we will be continuing as part of NDA,” Chowdary told reporters.

Andhra Pradesh, Telughu Desam Party, Tdp, bjp, tdp-bjp alliance, N Chandrababu Naidu, andhra, ashok gajapati raju, ys chowdary, andhra special status, narendra modi P Ashok Gajapathi Raju in Parliament. (Photo: Praveen Jain)

The beauty of democracy, he said, was to bring unanimity and make everyone happy and this was the BJP’s responsibility. “When they are in responsible positions, they will have to balance such things and during the process of balancing, they will have to face such situations.”

The TDP has 16 MPs in Lok Sabha.

Asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s offer of granting special status to Andhra Pradesh if the party were to come to power, Chowdary said it was a “hypothetical” situation.

Gajapathi Raju blamed the “unscientific division” — bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 — for the many troubles the state was going through. “The division was done unscientifically. This is told today by even those who did it. And it needs corrective action. That is what we are requesting now,” he said.

Also read | Why fallout with TDP poses a challenge to BJP’s numbers count for 2019

BJP sources said the Prime Minister was keen to retain the alliance with the TDP — he has a comfortable understanding with the TDP leadership and the BJP is keen to nurture strong allies in the south where it is yet to come up as a formidable force. But Naidu’s move Wednesday, sources said, did not go down well with the BJP leadership. A section of the BJP was also of the view that any anti-incumbency factor against the TDP would also impact the BJP in the assembly and general elections of 2019.

Andhra Pradesh, Telughu Desam Party, Tdp, bjp, tdp-bjp alliance, N Chandrababu Naidu, andhra, ashok gajapati raju, ys chowdary, andhra special status, narendra modi Y Satyanarayana Chowdary in Parliament. (Photo: Anil Sharma)

Sources attributed the softening in the TDP stance Thursday to a 10-minute conversation between the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister. Sources in the TDP said while Naidu tried to reach out to the Prime Minister twice, Modi spoke to him on Thursday evening on his return from Rajasthan. Both Raju and Chowdary wanted to submit their resignation letters in the morning but were asked to wait until evening, sources added.

The TDP, one of its MPs said, preferred to see the problem as an issue between the state and the Centre, not between the TDP and BJP. “We have had enough of protests inside and outside Parliament. We have been losing the faith of people. We had no option. But we do not want to snap our ties abruptly. We will mount pressure gradually,” the MP said.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has been asked to talk to TDP leaders and the state BJP leadership to explore possibilities of continuing the partnership. “There are no talks happening currently. Now that the TDP has withdrawn its ministers, we will have to take a stand on how to go ahead,” a senior BJP leader familiar with the developments said.

The alliance plunged into crisis when Naidu, hours after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out special status to Andhra Pradesh, announced that he would withdraw his ministers from the Union government.

BJP chief Amit Shah directed the state unit to pull out BJP ministers from the the TDP-led government in the state — Srinivasa Rao and T Manikyala Rao resigned on Thursday.

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  1. Anuj Tiwari
    Mar 9, 2018 at 1:26 pm
    For more detail, you can visit - : financialexpress /india-news/pm-narendra-modi-tells-tdp-ministers-i-am-with-andhra/1092126/
    1. N
      Mar 9, 2018 at 11:13 am
      Read why Center is not giving special status to Andhra : indianexpress /article/explained/why-andhra-pradesh-centre-cant-agree-on-special-category-status-tdp-modi-govt-5091298/
      1. Sankaran Krishnan
        Mar 9, 2018 at 8:23 am
        Why TDP failed to read the news after the BJP President gave instruction to the State Ministers who are part of the AQP Govt. to resign and instead of waiting to talk to the PM the AP CM must have instructed the TDP Ministers at the Centre to hand over the resignations immediately to the PMO, is it NOT ??? Whereas when PM called AP CM other than conveying to withdraw from the Centre nothing was achieved by C Naidu which is really disadvantage to TDP and not the BJP and now TDP had given every opportunity to BJP for the funds sanctioned by the Centre for the last 4 years and definitely BJP can convince the voters across India thatnow Bihar too is asking for the Special package which was bifurcated long ago but still suffers though UPA was in power for 10 long years and nothing was achieved by JD(U) CM Nitish Kumar which forced him to switch loyalty to BJP to get assistance. If any of the Political Party approaches with confrontation with the Govt. of India the fate is the same !!!
        1. S
          Mar 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm
          The difference here is spl package was approved by parliament and BJP is signatory to that. Do u mean we should not believe in parliament as well. AP situation is diffe from Bihar. AP lost its capital due to which it lost both revenues and industries. How can 14th fin commission ignore such basic fact before scrapping spl status. So leaving side politics AP is not asking any favours but asking for compensation due to bifurcation. And this was ignored both by BJP and parliament. And BJP is solely responsible for this.
        2. Narendra M. Apte
          Mar 9, 2018 at 7:23 am
          1. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chandra Babu Naidu feels aggrieved. TDP’s nominees in the Union cabinet have resigned. That is fine. TDP boss is free to quit NDA. 2. If as per 14th Finance Commission recommendations special status can be accorded to only the North Eastern and three hilly states, chief minister of AP should know this fact. Here, I wish to say that when there is Central govt. funding State governments do not observe any financial discipline and make efforts to grab as much share of the Central grants as possible. That way there is huge wastage of public money. 3 What is so special about various projects of AP government that require the Central govt. funding? NDA govt. should consider all facts about these projects and explore possibilities of the Central govt. funding for the projects but at the same time Centre should not give in to unreasonable demands of chief minister of AP under pressure. 4. Would AP benefit if voted to power in 2019 Lok Sabha election?
          1. S
            Mar 9, 2018 at 12:14 pm
            When 14th fn commission is deciding on scrapping spl status, is it not duty of commission and center to look at the proposal of AP which is pending at that time. That too when it was ratified by parliament. Normally will parliament takes it lightly if any of its bill is rejected by other ins utions.
          2. harun hafeez
            Mar 9, 2018 at 7:18 am
            Both are enacting a drama,Naidu knows that if he goes overboard he will have to face the CBI and his Billions of wealth acquired will be brought under the scanner.Same way BJP needs those seats to make up for what they see as loss they are likely to face in Cow belt.
            1. S
              Mar 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm
              He is the only politician in India who is declaring his assets every year including of his family. So don't give blanket statements
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