Andhra Pradesh Highlights: TDP says will remain in NDA after 2 ministers quit Modi govt
Two ministers from Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary, submitted their resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid the ongoing tussle over special status for Andhra Pradesh. Here are the updates.Updated: Mar 08, 2018 22:52 IST
Two Telugu Desam Party (TDP ) ministers resigned from the central government a day after Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu indicated his party was considering a divorce with the National Democratic Alliance led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This was preceded by the resignation of two BJP minister from the Andhra Cabinet after Naidu on Wednesday said the TDP would pull out from the NDA government over the centre’s refusal to give special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Politicians in the TDP say the party had weighed several options, such as pulling out of the NDA, MPs resigning and ministers quitting the government, and it was decided that the divorce should be a step-by-step process. If their demand is not met even after pulling out the ministers, the TDP will consider quitting the ruling coalition.
The BJP has rejected Naidu’s charge that the central government led by Narendra Modi neglected Andhra, saying the Centre not only fulfilled all its obligations but also went out of its way to help the state.
Follow the updates here:
6.53pm: Many aspects of bill were taken up but unfortunately, the emotional issue of special status has not been addressed in time: Chowdary.
6.50pm: On the possibility of BJP-YSRCP alliance, YS Chowdary says, “That is between those two parties, we have nothing to say on that, you can ask them.”
6.46pm: We will continue to be a part of the NDA but not take up any ministerial positions.I don’t think there is anything wrong in that, says TDP MP Chowdary.
6.45pm: I don’t think it’s fair on our part to expect PM to deal with these issues. It’s for the concerned ministries to take up, already considerable amount of time has lapsed: YS Chowdary, TDP.
6.45pm: Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary address the press conference.
6.23pm: The two TDP MPs, Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary, submit resignation after meeting the PM.
Aviation Minister and TDP MP Ashok Gajapathi Raju's resignation letter to PM Narendra Modi pic.twitter.com/DXFbagSzWs— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2018
5.45pm: The two TDP MPs in the Union cabinet, AG Raju and YS Chowdhary arrive at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg to meet PM Narendra Modi.
5.20pm: TDP MP Ashok Gajapathi Raju arrives at colleague YS Chowdary’s residence. Both Union ministers will meet Prime Minister Modi at 6pm.
5.15pm: AP CM Naidu explained to the Prime Minister about reasons leading to central ministers’ resignation and TDP withdrawing from the Union government, according to TDP sources.
5pm: The two TDP ministers in the Union Cabinet to meet PM Narendra Modi at 6 pm. They were directed on Wednesday by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu to submit their resignations.
4.50pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu amid row over special status to Andhra Pradesh.
1.57pm: Chandrababu Naidu took a historical step. Why did our CM (Nitish Kumar) take a step back? Letter was written to him to create pressure over issue of special status to Bihar. This is much needed, especially with the kind of disparities here. CM should muster up at least 1% of Naidu’s courage, says RJD’s Manoj Jha.
1:30pm: TDP MP and Union aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju says he and his colleague YS Chowdary have sought an appointment with PM Modi for handing over their resignations. Speaking about the demand for special status to Andhra, he says: “When the state of Andhra Pradesh was made, the people did not want to be treated as a residue material. There were some assurances made. UPA govt made some commitments, now these commitments are the questions,” ANI reports.
1:02pm: TDP MP CM Ramesh arrives at Parliament wearing a t-shirt with the six demands printed on it.
12:48pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2pm.
12:20pm: YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy says his party will support whichever party promises the state special category status, IANS reports.
12:15pm: Lok Sabha adjourns for the day.
11:45am: Lok Sabha adjourned till noon amid uproar over various issues, including TDP parliamentarians demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.
11:20am: TDP leader Jayadev Galla says, “Other parties who are sympathetic to our cause have also started protesting on various issues but in support of us. Next step is coming out of the cabinet, after FM Jaitley’s statement yesterday,” according to ANI.
11:15am: “What Arun Jaitley spoke yesterday is not good. You are holding hand of the North Eastern states but not Andhra Pradesh’s. You are giving industrial incentives to them, not to Andhra Pradesh. Why this discrimination?” the chief minister says.
11am: Andhra CM Naidu addresses assembly. “Our ministers in central cabinet and BJP ministers in our cabinet have resigned. However, these ministers worked good in the state. They brought considerable reforms in their departments. I thank them for their services,” ANI reports.
10:47am: TDP leader Srinivas says the party’s central government ministers will resign today. “No one from AP was willing to bifurcate, all resources related to generation of employment were in Hyderabad; bifurcation was not done in a scientific way and injustice done with the Andhra Pradesh,” he tells ANI.
10:41am: TDP MPs protest inside Parliament premises over non-granting of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Delhi: TDP MPs protest inside Parliament premises over special category status to Andhra Pradesh pic.twitter.com/tKNTOyPq9f— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2018
10:35am: Congress’ Renuka Chowdhury dismisses talk of crisis. “What crisis? This is like match fixing. They are still pretending to withdraw (from the alliance). What would happen if two ministers resign? If you are serious do it seriously,” she says, according to ANI.
10:28am: Union minister Ramdas Athawale says Andhra CM Naidu must think his decision through. “Want to appeal to AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu that he must think over this decision once again for development of people of AP they should stay with NDA. Whenever you seek time from PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah they meet. If all states demand special status it would become very difficult for the government,” he says according to ANI.
10:24am: TDP MPs YS Chowdary and Ashok Gajapathi Raju are expected to give a statement in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively today.
10:20am: Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande says the current TDP-BJP tussle is due to the BJP’s overconfidence. “Two ministers from TDP are about to resign, BJP should’ve thought about it. Former NDA leaders had kept the alliance together. Now it’s overconfident. 2019 will be challenging for BJP,” ANI quotes her saying.
10:15am: “When we’re asking for our right it can’t be rejected. Alliance is still under negotiation. We don’t want to make it a political fight between TDP-BJP, but a fight for the state,” ANI quotes TDP MP Ram Mohan Naidu as saying.
10:08am: BJP ministers Dr Kamineni Srinivas and Pydikondala Manikyala Rao resign from the Andhra Pradesh cabinet to CM Naidu in Amaravati. Srinivas was the minister for health and Rao was the endowments minister.
10am: Shiv Sena says the developments in Andhra are as expected. “Other parties have walked out of NDA too. Allies no longer have good relations with BJP. Gradually their grudges will spill out and eventually they’ll walk out of alliance,” ANI quotes Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
9:30am: BJP state legislator PVN Madhav says, “Decided that our ministers will resign from TDP Cabinet. We will be going to the people and telling them all the things Centre has done for the state. Since independence till date, no state has received as many favours as that were given to Andhra Pradesh,” according to ANI.
9:10am: TDP’s YS Chowdary, junior minister for science and technology, says, “It is not a good move but unfortunately due to unavoidable circumstances we’re stepping down as ministers. Our President (Naidu) said that we will continue to be a partner of NDA. We are most likely to meet PM also,” according to ANI.
8:37am: BJP ministers are expected to skip the Andhra cabinet meeting to be held by CM Chandrababu Naidu to approve state budget.
8:35am: Andhra assembly session to begin at 9am.
8:30am: BJP ministers in the Andhra cabinet – Kamineni Srinivas and P Manikyalal Rao – are expected to submit their resignations to the Speaker.
6:30am: Congress leader Ahmed Patel reacts to CM Naidu’s remark that he couldn’t speak to PM Modi directly. “It is very unfortunate that the Prime Minister couldn’t take the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s phone call on such an important matter. This doesn’t augur well for the interest of the people of Andhra Pradesh,” ANI quoted him as saying.
Tug of war
Before the Wednesday night’s announcement, TDP leaders said the BJP had pushed them to a position where taking a “tough stand” was the only option left. Naidu said he will take a call on whether or not to remain in the NDA before the second leg of the budget session ends.
The TDP has 16 members in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha. To be sure, the BJP and the NDA have a comfortable majority, and the threatened pullout of TDP from the coalition would pose no crisis for the government.
“As a first step, both our central ministers will resign from the Narendra Modi cabinet on Thursday morning,” Naidu told journalists late in the night. “With regard to alliance with the BJP, we will decide on party-to-party basis later,” he said.
Naidu made the announcement after discussions with his party’s members of Parliament in Delhi through teleconference and his own cabinet ministers in the state secretariat in Amaravati, following an announcement by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi categorically ruling out special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Naidu said Jaitley’s statement clearly indicated that the NDA government was not interested in resolving the crisis in Andhra Pradesh and coming to the rescue of the state, which, he said, had suffered in the aftermath of its 2014 bifurcation. “When the purpose of our joining the government is not served, we don’t have any option but to come out of it,” he said.
He said that as a courtesy, he called up the Prime Minister’s Office to inform Modi of the decision. “I could not reach the prime minister on phone. Our officials informed the PMO of the decision,” the chief minister said.
Politicians in the TDP familiar with the situation said the party had weighed several options, such as pulling out of the NDA, MPs resigning and ministers quitting the government, and it was decided that the divorce should be a step-by-step process.
TDP leaders said pulling out ministers would send a signal to the BJP and will keep its hopes of special category status for Andhra Pradesh alive. If the demand is not met even after pulling out the ministers, the TDP will consider quitting the ruling coalition.
In New Delhi earlier on Wednesday, the Centre tried to pacify its ally, saying every commitment made during the 2014 bifurcation of the state to create Telangana would be honoured. “We are committed to giving monetary equivalent to special status to Andhra Pradesh,” finance minister Jaitley said.
The minister said the special category status existed when the state was bifurcated, but such treatment is now constitutionally restricted to just the North-Eastern states and the three hilly states after the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
Jaitley said the Centre is committed to funding all of Andhra Pradesh’s programmes to the tune of 90%, which is equivalent to the aid special category states get, through other means like external agencies. The Centre, he added, is even willing to accept the state government’s suggestion of routing such funds through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
At meetings last month, the Centre suggested creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV; a company created for a specific purpose) with the funds from NABARD going into it. Jaitley said the Andhra Pradesh government is yet to come back on the modalities of such a transfer.
The TDP also has to deal with rival YSR Congress Party headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has announced that his party MPs will resign from Parliament on April 6, the last day of the second leg of the budget session, if the demand for special category status is not met by April 5.
YSR Congress won 8 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and remains TDP’s main rival in Andhra Pradesh, a state which Chandrababu Naidu won from the Congress after 10 years. Jagan Mohan Reddy has made special category status an election issue for the party.
Of the total 175 assembly constituencies, the TDP won 102 seats in 2014. It doesn’t have to depend on the support of the four BJP legislators to maintain a majority, an advantage that Naidu wants to leverage.
Naidu blamed state BJP leaders for launching a counter-attack on his government, rather than taking up the state’s issues with the Centre. “You cannot run away from your responsibility by attacking us. The 130-year-old Congress party was completely routed from AP for hurting the sentiments of the people. If you continue to hurt our sentiments by denying the special category status, which is our right, you will have to meet the same fate,” he said.
The BJP has two ministers in the Naidu government – health minister Kamineni Srinivas and endowments minister P Manikyala Rao – and they will have to quit if he announces a parting of ways with the NDA. “We are ready to get out of the state cabinet within minutes of getting the directions from the party leadership in Delhi,” Srinivas said.