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Limited choices for Chandrababu Naidu after two TDP ministers resign from Modi govt over Andhra special status issue

Given the circumstances, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu has to join hands with other political forces to retain power in the state.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2018 21:25 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Chandrababu Naidu,TDP,Andhra Pradesh
N Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, said it was not proper to talk about future alliances at the time. (Reuters File Photo)

Speculation swirled on Thursday over Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s next move after he asked his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ministers at the Centre to resign, effectively breaking ranks with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

The TDP chief kept his cards close to his chest as civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and minister of state for science and technology YS Chowdary submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening.

“It is not proper for us to talk about future alliances at a time I have taken a decision to come out of the NDA government with a lot of anguish and pain,” the chief minister said in Amaravati late on Wednesday.

According to political experts, the options before Naidu are limited, now that the TDP has almost severed its four-year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the NDA government’s refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Any friendship with the Congress looks unlikely too as the TDP has been opposing the party since the days of its inception in the early 1980s although Congress president Rahul Gandhi has backed the demand for special category status to Andhra Pradesh that would entitle the state to special central grants. Besides, the Congress and BJP are on a weak footing in the state politically — the first for the 2014 bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, which led to the creation of Telangana, and the second for, in Naidu’s words, betraying the state’s people by denying it special status.

Given the circumstances, Naidu has to join hands with other political forces to retain power in the state and play a role at the Centre after the 2019 parliamentary elections.

In Andhra Pradesh, he can seek help from the Jana Sena Party, founded by popular Telugu film star Pawan Kalyan, who supported the TDP in the 2014 elections and has been maintaining friendly relations with Naidu.

“We shall decide our plan of action at a public meeting to be held in Guntur on the party’s foundation day on March 14. We shall disclose our stand on the TDP and other parties then,” Pawan Kalyan said.

The leftist parties, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI(Marxist), may have limited vote banks but might support the TDP as it has almost snapped ties with the BJP. “It is good that Naidu has at least come out of the BJP fold,” CPI secretary K Narayana said.

Naidu could explore the option of joining a federal front proposed by Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao as a political alternative to the Congress and BJP.

“The Congress and BJP do not stand a chance in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the next elections. So, it is better for the TDP to join the third front in the best interest of the Telugu people. If the two parties come together, they will have a stronger voice in Delhi..,” said senior TRS leader and deputy chief minister Kadiyam Srihari, who was once a close associate of Naidu in the TDP.

The TRS too is upset with the Modi government for denying increased reservations in jobs and education to Muslims.

The TRS leader recalled that it was TDP founder-president NT Rama Rao who had brought several anti-Congress and anti-BJP forces together to form a National Front in the 1980s.

Political analyst K Nageshwar said the federal front is still at a conception stage, but it could provide Naidu the platform to play a key role in national politics.

“The front may not form the government at the Centre in 2019, but Naidu and KCR can have their say in Delhi, if the Congress or BJP fail to get absolute majority and are forced to depend on regional parties,” he said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 20:36 IST