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Chandrababu Naidu's TDP exits 'power-drunk' Modi govt: Top 10 developments

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu turned down Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request to 'reconsider' the Telugu Desam Party's decision to withdraw from the NDA government at the Centre

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

TDP leaders Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Y S Chowdary
TDP leaders Y S Chowdary (left) and Ashok Gajapathi Raju resigned from the Modi government as their party continued its demand for special-category status for Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh's ruling (TDP), led by N Chandrababu Naidu, on Thursday pulled out of the government, with two of its minister in the Union Cabinet tendering their resignations. TDP’s exit from the Narendra Modi-led central government came as a result of the Centre’s refusal to grant a special-category status. However, a split within the ruling Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre was averted for now, with the party deciding to remain in the alliance, a move many view as TDP’s attempt to keep the window for rapprochement open. Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences Y S Chowdary, the two TDP ministers in the Modi government, met the prime minister on Thursday evening and tendered their letters of resignation. However, as of the time this report was filed, there had been no official word on whether the resignation letters were forwarded to President Ram Nath Kovind for acceptance. This has also set off speculations that back-channel talks could still be taking place to iron out differences. The Union ministers' resignation came after a 20-minute talk between the TDP boss and Chief Minister N and Prime Minister Modi. Apparently, the conversation was not successful in removing the irritants plaguing the TDP's ties with the BJP-led government at the Centre. In a tit-for-tat response, the two BJP ministers in the government – K Srinivasa Rao and T Manikyala Rao – also quit. While speaking to the media after tendering his resignation letter, Raju said the TDP would continue to be part of the NDA. Chowdary, for his part, said the issue of a special-category status was very emotive for Andhra Pradesh and that the Centre had not addressed it. He added that the special package put forth by Finance Minister was not adequate. Government sources have ruled out the possibility of any compromise on N Chandrababu Naidu's demand for giving Andhra Pradesh a special-category status. In off-the-record briefings, BJP leaders said granting a special-category status to the state was impossible after the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission were accepted. The party's leadership added that doing so would also open a Pandora's Box, with states like Punjab, and Odisha also demanding a similar treatment. Here are the top 10 developments around pulling the TDP out of the Narendra-Modi led NDA govt at the Centre: 1. BJP alliance made no difference to TDP in 2014: Chandrababu

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. asserted that the alliance with the BJP had fetched nothing for the TDP in the 2014 elections.

Naidu is said to have pointed out that the had polled a good percentage of votes when it contested alone in the local bodies elections in 2014. 2. Will try to unite all anti-BJP forces for 2019 LS polls: Mamata

Alleging that the country was facing a "super emergency" under the BJP-led central government, Trinamool (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee today said she would try to unite all the anti-BJP forces to defeat the saffron party in the 2019 The West Bengal chief minister also met senior Nationalist Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel today to discuss politics. After the meeting with Banerjee, Patel told reporters that the idea of having a federal front in the future was discussed between them. "A beginning has to be made. She (Banerjee) was very happy. She said the leadership should not be discussed, the idea is to have a formidable alternative to bring in a change in the government at the Centre. There will be a series of meetings," he added. Addressing the TMC's extended core committee meeting here, Banerjee said, "Someone has to bell the cat. We want everybody to come together to fight against the BJP. We will help them in all possible ways."

3) Naidu tells Modi 'things have crossed that stage': Prime Minister Modi reportedly tried to reach out to upset ally Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister on Thursday, but found little success. Modi requested Naidu to "reconsider" the TDP's decision to pull out from the NDA government at the Centre. However, the TDP chief reportedly turned down the PM's request, saying "things have crossed that stage".

Informed sources told news agencies that the prime minister spoke to Naidu over the phone on Thursday evening and discussed the TDP's decision, which had been taken the previous night over the demand for a special-category status to Andhra Pradesh. During the talk, Modi asked the Andhra Pradesh chief minister to come to New Delhi to hold a personal discussion. However, Naidu did not respond to the offer. An Andhra Pradesh minister told news agencies that Prime Minister Modi asked the TDP chief "to come over to discuss everything in person" but "Naidu said he cannot go now". After the conversation with the prime minister, Naidu called a meeting with his ministers on Thursday night.

The chief minister informed his party colleagues about the prime minister's request to reconsider their decision to withdraw from the NDA government at the Centre. ALSO READ: Andhra special status row: Two TDP ministers quit; party to remain in NDA 4) Naidu tells Modi he waited for four years: Prime Minister Modi sought a dialogue with the state's leadership and Chandrababu Naidu. However, the latter reportedly indicated that the TDP's patience had run out after four years of waiting. Speaking to the TDP chief, Modi said the issue of Andhra Pradesh's demand for special-category status "could have been resolved", had both the leaders "sat and discussed it". Responding to Modi, Naidu reportedly said his party and the state had "waited patiently for four years". However, he added, "ultimately we had to take the decision (to leave the NDA)". The chief minister said the decision to pull out was taken "in deference to the people's sentiment". Naidu also told Prime Minister Modi that the people of Andhra Pradesh were seething over Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's comments, which they felt were an "insult". State Information and Public Relations Minister Kalva Srinivasulu said Chandrababu Naidu had only asked the prime minister to do something for Andhra Pradesh "since he had the authority". ALSO READ: TDP's decision to quit NDA is a classic case of opportunistic politics: BJP 5) 'Modi govt power-drunk ': Hitting out at the BJP after the TDP pulled out from the NDA government at the Centre, the on Thursday said that the "parochial autocratic alliance" led by Prime Minister Modi did not accept a "divergence of opinions or plurality". Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said the BJP's allies were breaking off their relations with the party one after the other. Surjewala added that "all was never well within the NDA". He said the Modi government was "drunk with power and over-confidence", adding that the "disintegration of the NDA" was a "reflection" of the fact that there was little space in the dispensation for "those who dissent either from within or from outside". "The parochial autocratic alliance led by could never accept a divergence of opinions or plurality, which are the essence of India's foundational values, and the splintering of the NDA that you are seeing now is only a reflection of that philosophy of the PM and the BJP. And it does not start or end here," he said. "The TDP is perhaps the oldest ally of the NDA as used to be the convener of the NDA," he said, adding that Naidu showed "the courage of his conviction to call a spade a spade" in speaking out when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat. ALSO READ: Modi's last-ditch attempt, a 10-minute phone call & Naidu's 'sayonara' 6) Two from Modi Cabinet: After meeting the Prime Minister, the two TDP ministers in the Modi government, A Gajapathy Raju and YS Choudhary, tendered their resignation to Prime Minister Modi.

On Wednesday night, the two TDP ministers in the Modi government were instructed to resign from the Union Cabinet on Thursday by Chandrababu Naidu.
On Wednesday, Naidu had said that Jaitley's announcement was the "last straw" for him. Following mounting pressure from the Opposition, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister had repeatedly insisted on special-category status for his state. Naidu added that Jaitley's statement was nothing but insulting to the TDP. The TDP supremo and chief minister added that as a courtesy, he had tried to speak to Prime Minister over the phone to inform him about the decision to pull out of the NDA government. "It is my responsibility as a coalition partner to inform the prime minister about our party's decision. My OSD spoke to his OSD but the prime minister did not come on line," he said. Naidu said Jaitley's comments suggested that Andhra Pradesh was asking for too much. He also slammed the finance minister for saying "sentiments will not decide the quantum of funds". He said that he made 29 trips to Delhi, met with Prime Minister Modi and other ministers, and tried to do his best to do justice to his state. "I am not angry with anybody," he added. Naidu hoped that at least now the Centre would respect the sentiment of Andhra Pradesh's people. YS Choudhary Union Minister and TDP MP YS Choudhary's resignation letter to PM Narendra Modi 7) TDP to remain a part of the NDA: TDP leader Y S Chowdary said he and his colleague Ashok Gajapathi Raju were stepping down as ministers as it was necessitated by "unavoidable circumstances" but the party would continue to be part of the NDA. Likening the decision to an unfortunate divorce, Chowdary, the Union minister of state for science and technology, said he and Raju, Union civil aviation minister, would continue to work as parliamentarians for Andhra Pradesh. "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," Chowdhary said, reported PTI. 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," Chowdhary added. Noting that he and Raju would continue to work in their personal capacities as parliamentarians and exert pressure to achieve their demand, Chowdhary said, "All parliament members will work for this. We hope we will succeed in getting special status..." Asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi's offer of giving special status to Andhra Pradesh if the party came to power, he said it was a hypothetical situation. According to Raju, "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." The TDP has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha. ALSO READ: Ready to bring no-trust motion against Centre to get justice for AP: Naidu 8) I am with Andhra, says PM Modi: "Prime Minister Modi received us cordially and said that whatever delay has happened, but we will work towards it. The Prime Minister said clearly that 'I am with Andhra Pradesh and I will serve people of the state'," YS Chowdary said.

Replying to a question about the way forward, Chowdary said, "We have to ensure whatever commitments and assurances given in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act as well as the promises made by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the floor of the Rajya Sabha are fulfilled."

Chowdary said that since he and Gajapathy Raju have resigned from the council of ministers, they will have more freedom in the Parliament to pursue the issues. 9) 'Salute Naidu's courage, time for Nitish to speak up': The opposition RJD in challenged Chief Minister to take a cue from his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu and "speak up" on the issue of special status for the state. Accusing Kumar of remaining silent on issues such as vandalism of statues and the alleged insult to women leaders like Mayawati and Renuka Chowdhury, the Opposition party warned the government of launching an agitation if the chief minister failed to raise his voice on the issue of special-category status. "We salute Chandrababu Naidu for showing the courage to stick to the stand he took on the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh. The effect of creation of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh is similar to the impact carving out of Jharkhand had on But there appears to be a big difference between the chief ministers of the two states," RJD spokesman Manoj Jha said, reported PTI.

10) 'Will support whoever promises special-category status': "Whosoever is ready to give 'special category status' to Andhra Pradesh, It will have YSRCP's support," YS Jagan Mohan Reddy told the media. The YSRCP chief further said that all options were open from the party and that Andhra Pradesh "comes first for us and is above all the other issues". Andhra Pradesh BJP chief K Hari Babu said political one-upmanship has been going on in the state — an apparent reference to the war of words between the TDP and its main rival, the YSR Congress Party, over the special-category status — and said that the ministers' resignations were more of a political ploy ahead of next year's Assembly polls. He added that while the TDP remains a part of the NDA, the YSR Congress has also been friendly to the government in Parliament, which gives the BJP a unique political space as its main national rival, the Congress, remains a pariah for the two regional parties.

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 22:33 IST