ALSO READ2 TDP ministers to resign from Union Cabinet today: Andhra CM Naidu TDP pulls out of NDA: BJP's Andhra ministers resign; top 10 developments Can't give Andhra Pradesh special status says Jaitley; top 10 developments Opposition pressure further strains TDP-BJP relations in Andhra Pradesh Not merely asking 'special category status' for the state
Two Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ministers quit the Union council of ministers on Thursday evening, but the party said it would continue to be a constituent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary sent in their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with letters addressed to the President.
Two BJP ministers in the N Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet in Andhra Pradesh also resigned. Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas and Endowment Minister P Manikyala Rao met the CM and submitted their resignations.
While government sources ruled out any possibility of a compromise on the TDP’s demand for giving Andhra Pradesh special status, the PM spoke to Naidu over the phone.
Naidu, late Wednesday evening, had instructed his ministers to quit the council of ministers after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had ruled out special category status to AP. “I tried reaching out to the PM to inform him about the decision. But sadly, he was unavailable,” Naidu had tweeted.
In several off-the-record briefings, the BJP leadership said granting special category status was not only impossible after the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission had been accepted, but would also open a Pandora’s box with states such as Odisha, Punjab and Bihar also demanding special status.
In Patna, the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) said it saluted the courage shown by Naidu, and asked Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to “speak up” for the state.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the YSR Congress and other parties were creating "political pressure" with "false propaganda" on the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh, which may have forced the CM to take such a step.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the JD (U) and BJP were on the brink of a divorce.
In Kolkata, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee called upon all regional parties to come together to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections next year. “Are you (BJP) not able to hear the sound of revolt from various parts of the country? Are you not able to read the results in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat? The TDP has walked out," she said.
In his brief resignation letter to the PM, Raju conveyed his “gratitude for the cooperation” extended to him by the PM during his tenure as a member of the council of ministers. In his letter, Chowdary said he needed to quit because of the “prevailing public sentiment” in his constituency, the “circumstances” that led to that situation and adhering to the decision taken by his party.
Talking to the media, Raju said the division of Andhra Pradesh was done unscientifically. “And it needs corrective action. That is what we are requesting now.”
The two Houses of Parliament couldn’t transact any business, with the TDP and other parties protesting on various issues.