A day after its defeat in the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar bypolls, the ruling BJP faced fresh trouble on Thursday as ally TDP renewed its threat to pull out of the NDA. While the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) on Thursday gave a notice for moving a no-confidence motion against the government in Lok Sabha, TDP sources said the party would support its rival.
In a teleconference with his MPs on Thursday, TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is learnt to have accused the BJP of resorting to “collusion politics”. According to sources, he also said there was a strong anti-BJP mood in the country, as reflected in the bypoll results on Wednesday.
The TDP politburo at its meeting on Friday took the decision to withdraw support from the NDA. Sources said majority of the party leaders, including MPs and MLAs, told Naidu to quit the NDA. This comes a week after the TDP pulled out its two ministers — P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Y S Chowdary — from the Union Council of Ministers on March 8.
Speaking to his MPs, Naidu is learnt to have accused the BJP of using Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP and actor K Pavan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party to target the TDP. He said the BJP was applying the same strategy it used in Tamil Nadu, where it supported the OPS faction against EPS in the AIADMK.
“He warned the party against collusion politics, referring to the developments in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. He mentioned AIADMK leader O Paneerselvam’s comments that the BJP was behind the merger of the two factions in the AIADMK after J Jayalalithaa’s demise,” said a TDP leader.
Citing Wednesday’s bypoll results, Naidu is learnt to have told his MPs that there is a strong anti-incumbency mood against the BJP across the country. “He said that while we are fighting for self-respect, rights of Telugu people, and implementation of promises made to us, the BJP is resorting to collusion politics,” said an MP.
Naidu’s tone was different from the soft approach reflected at the press conference held by Raju and Chowdary, after submitting their resignation on March 8, party sources said.
“This is the final option. The Chief Minister is livid that instead of resolving issues faced by the state, the BJP is indulging in the dirty politics that it played in Tamil Nadu,’’ said TDP leader Kambhampati Rammohan Rao.
Meanwhile, even as YSRCP MPs continued their protests inside and outside the House, demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh, a party MP, Y V Subba Reddy, gave a notice for moving a no-confidence motion against the government. The notice, however, has only been signed by Subba Reddy, although the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha is Nellore MP, M Rajamohan Reddy. The party has nine members in the Lok Sabha.
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There has been no communication from the Lok Sabha Secretariat about the notice.
In a letter to floor leaders of other parties, YSRCP president Jagan Mohan Reddy has sought their support in the “fight for justice”. Saying that his party would move a no-confidence motion against the NDA government on March 21, he said his MPs would resign on April 6 if the government failed to act. “The promises made by the central government and the assurances made on the floor of the Parliament during the debate were not kept. The residual state of Andhra Pradesh has been under utter neglect,” he said in the letter.
While the BJP appeared to be caught between the two warring regional parties, fighting for dominance in Andhra Pradesh where elections are due in 2019, party sources attributed the TDP’s renewed offensive to the BJP’s attempts to explore the possibility of a political re-alignment in Andhra Pradesh.
“There is nothing left in the BJP-TDP alliance now. Things have gone so far that the bridges cannot be rebuilt for the time being. Being a political party in the scene, the BJP has to explore all options,” said a senior BJP leader. “By withdrawing ministers, Chandrababu Naidu has snapped ties and given the state on a platter to other players in the state,” the leader added.
At least three BJP leaders admitted that YSRCP MPs have been holding back-channel talks with the BJP.
Another trigger seems to be the Jana Sena Party, which has snapped ties with the TDP. At a public meeting in Guntur on Wednesday evening, its leader, K Pavan Kalyan, accused Naidu and his son, Lokesh Naidu, of indulging in corruption.
“Pavan Kalyan is very popular among the youth. He can swing votes, especially the votes of the powerful Kapu community. His support for the BJP-TDP alliance played a role in the TDP’s 2014 victory. Now that he has turned against the TDP, it is cause for concern,’’ said a party leader.
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