Andhra special status row Highlights: I didn’t pull out TDP from NDA for selfish reasons, says Naidu
TDP quit the BJP-led NDA on Friday, and moved a no-confidence motion against the Modi government over Andhra Pradesh not being given special category status. State CM Chandrababu Naidu slammed the Centre, saying the decision wasn’t a selfish one. Highlights.india Updated: Mar 16, 2018 21:15 IST
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Friday formally decided to quit the NDA, days after two of its MPs resigned as ministers in the Narendra Modi government to protest the Centre’s refusal to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.
An official communique said the party will also move a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government over the injustice meted out to the state.
The Lok Sabha however adjourned for the day amid opposition protests without taking up the motion. The House will reconvene on Monday.
Union ministers – P Ashok Gajapati Raju and YS Chowdary – had quit on March 8 after a meeting with the prime minister over the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The TDP politburo unanimously took the decision during a tele-conference with party supremo and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the morning.
The TDP will write a letter to BJP president Amit Shah and also other constituents of the NDA informing its decision and the reasons for it, the communique said.
Here are the highlights:
7:30pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley says the Centre has always been willing to give a special package equivalent to a special category state tag to Andhra Pradesh, reports PTI.
5.50pm: Pawan Kalyan has accused both TDP and opposition YSR Congress Party of not being sincere in moving no-confidence motion against the BJP-led NDA government in Parliament. Talking to reporters at Guntur and later at Vijayawada, he said both the parties were playing gimmicks over the issue as they were still unclear about the dates on which they plan to move the motion.
5:35pm: The Communist Party of India (CPI) will support the no-confidence motion moved by Andhra Pradesh parties against the NDA government, party general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy says.
3:30pm: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee reiterates her support for TDP. “Every state has their own problems and issues. TDP also has its own issues, initially they were with the NDA and now they have left the NDA for a better cause. So whatever TDP has decided is correct,” ANI quotes her as saying.
3pm: Rajya Sabha adjourns till Monday.
2:50pm: Union minister Piyush Goyal says in Rajya Sabha, “There can be no government more sensitive to the demands and the needs of the people of Andhra Pradesh than the present government under PM Modi,” ANI reports.
2:39pm: Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan says, “It is not about pulling down govt, intention is to discuss in Parliament the injustice meted to Andhra Pradesh. Jana Sena was the party that initiated it (idea of no-confidence motion) and later due to public pressure YSRCP and TDP were forced to do it,” according to ANI.
2:35pm: “TDP has survived many crises and we can sail through this situation. I wrote many letters to the Centre. Recently also I gave a letter to PM but nothing materialised,” says Naidu: ANI
2:30pm: “Arun Jaitley said sentiment cannot increase quantum of funds. What a reckless statement. Telangana was carved for sentiment. Sentiment is very powerful. Even now you are doing injustice,” CM Chandrababu Naidu hits out at Centre, according to ANI.
2:25pm: Speaking in the state assembly, Naidu says bifurcation promises are not yet fulfilled. “Had special status been included in the Act in then Lok Sabha then, this situation would have not arisen,” Naidu says: ANI.
2:10pm: Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu says he made the decision to quit the NDA to protect the interests of the state. “We’ve quit NDA. I took the decision, not for selfish reasons, but for interests of AP. For four years I made all efforts, went to Delhi 29 times, asked many times. This was Centre’s last budget and there was no mention of AP, we had to pull our ministers out of cabinet,” Naidu says in the Andhra assembly, ANI reports.
2:01pm: AIADMK legislator and Tamil Nadu minister D Jayakumar dismisses TDP protests as “opportunistic”. “There were issues after the division of Andhra Pradesh. If there were issues all these years, then why weren’t they raised? This shows merely an opportunistic nature,” ANI quotes him as saying.
1:05pm: “When a no-confidence motion is moved 50 MPs should stand in its support, and 50 MPs stood, but Speaker said it cannot be considered as House is not in order. So, I want to ask what does govt fear? They have huge majority in Lok Sabha,” Congress’ Shashi Tharoor says about Lok Sabha proceedings to ANI.
12:30pm: Congress’ Renuka Chowdhury says party remains committed to Andhra. “Our commitment to people of AP continues and this government has no business to take away that right of ours. It is only right that we fight collectively, it is the principle we are fighting on. Centre has exposed itself and that it does not stand by any ally,” ANI quotes her as saying after Lok Sabha is adjourned.
12:10pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns House till Monday after Telangana Rashtra Samithi MPs storm the well over their demands. Session adjourned without no-confidence motion being taken up as opposition protests continue.
12:05pm: “In a big alliance, small difference of opinions happen. There is no danger to NDA government. But, TDP withdrawing from NDA is unfortunate,” says Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi.
Noon: Lok Sabha session resumes.
11:40am: BJP hits back at TDP. Party’s national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao says, “The state govt and TDP are feeling the pinch of the public opinion going against them... We believe they are seeing a defeat for themselves in 2019 and want to use this as an alibi to really retrieve lost political ground.Question being asked in AP as to why AP CM took four years to realise that this is not working,” according to ANI. Rao says Andhra will be party’s next Tripura.
11:33am: “BJP has started to play its dirty games. What they did in Tamil Nadu, how they tried to encourage smaller parties and create rift within larger parties, now, they are trying to bring similar strategies to AP. We have no confidence in the government,” ANI quotes TDP MP Jaydev Galla as saying in Delhi.
11:31am: YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy says ruling TDP has followed their lead and that the nation and Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP have woken up to their struggle for special category status.
Even if guided by political compulsion, TDP had to yet again follow YSRCP’s lead of moving no confidence motion against the Central Govt for not granting SCS to AP. Win for democracy & people of AP. YSRCP will continue to fight for SCS, the rights of the people of AP(2/2)— YS Jagan Mohan Reddy (@ysjagan) March 16, 2018
11:25am: Andhra’s AIMIM party to support no confidence motion. “MIM will support no confidence motion in Lok Sabha today not only for failure on part of Modi govt to implement State Reorganisation Act but failure to fulfil their promise to provide employment to youth and for injustice to Muslim Women and Minorities,” ANI quotes Asaduddin Owaisi as saying.
11:19am: Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK is yet to decide on supporting no-confidence motion against Modi government in Lok Sabha: IANS quotes party leader on condition on anonymity. AIADMK has 37 MPs in LoK Sabha.
11:15am: Lok Sabha adjourns till noon.
11:07am: CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury says his party will support the TDP’s no-confidence motion. “Its (BJP’s) betrayal of the promise of special status for Andhra Pradesh is inexcusable. Its all-round failure & evasion of parliamentary accountability needs to be highlighted (sic),” tweets Yechury.
11:04am: “We have been supporting Special Category Status for AP since the beginning. We want that people of AP to get justice. When no-confidence motion is moved, you have to talk about government’s failures; we (are) contacting a lot of people,” says Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi: ANI.
10:55am: BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao calls TDP’s decision “mischievous” on Twitter, and says its exit will give his party opportunity to grow in Andhra.
TDP's decision to quit was inevitable after its mischievous propaganda against Centre. People of AP have now realised that the TDP is resorting to lies to cover up its inept & inert governance.Far from being a threat, TDP's exit is a timely opportunity for the BJP to grow in AP.— GVL Narasimha Rao (@GVLNRAO) March 16, 2018
10:44am: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee supports TDP. “I welcome the TDP’s decision to leave the NDA. The current situation warrants such action to save the country from disaster. I appeal to all political parties in the Opposition to work closely together against atrocities, economic calamity and political instability,” she says according to ANI.
10:40am: Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says BJP will decide on action after Parliament session. “Will see what happens in Parliament, which party chooses to go which way. In a way, it is election year and every state has demands and issues. It is not right for us to comment on it. It is a custom, before actual elections there is always a rehearsal in Parliament,” ANI quotes him as saying on BJP-TDP break-up.
10:36am: Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy says party will support no-confidence motion against the Centre by Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress party: ANI
10:25am: TDP leaders CM Ramesh, Thota Narsimhan, Ravindra Babu and others address media in Delhi. Say the BJP stand for ‘Break Janta Promise’, according to ANI. Say party will move no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha.
10:10am: “TDP withdrew support from NDA, which did injustice to AP. TDP president Chandrababu Naidu took this decision in an emergency teleconference with party politburo members and MPs, which was unanimously supported. TDP to also introduce no-confidence motion against NDA govt,” ANI quotes the Andhra Pradesh CMO.
9:50am: TDP MP Thota Narsimhan says, “Our party will be moving no-confidence motion today. We have decided... we are out of the NDA,” according to ANI.
9:30am: AP minster KS Jawahar says the BJP has cheated Telugu people, and so the party will move a no-confidence motion in Parliament, ANI reports.
TDP versus NDA
The sudden outburst of popular Telugu actor-turned-Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan at a public meeting in Guntur on Wednesday night, where he targeted the TDP and the YSR Congress, is understood to have made Naidu shift even further from NDA.
In his teleconference with party MPs on Thursday morning, Naidu said he suspected that the top BJP leadership could be behind the actor’s aggressive attack on the TDP government.
The TDP president alleged the top leadership in Delhi was trying to replicate the Tamil Nadu experiment in Andhra Pradesh.
“There are some big elements behind the conspiracy. The players in the game are in the state. They are trying to weaken the politically strong states through the Tamil Nadu type politics. But, neither Andhra Pradesh nor TDP is so vulnerable to become victims. We will thwart those attempts. Those who conspire will bite the dust,” the Andhra Pradesh chief minister is said to have told his MPs.
TDP MPs Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pasupati and YS Chowdary last week resigned from the Union council of ministers in what the party said was the first step in its divorce from the NDA. If their demands were not met even after pulling out the ministers, the TDP said it will consider quitting the ruling coalition.
The BJP 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.
Naidu’s TDP has been protesting against the “injustice” meted out to Andhra Pradesh in the Union budget and also non-implementation of promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, including granting of special category status to the state.
The party said the budget was disappointing and none of the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act found any mention in the budget. Special package in lieu of special category status, creation of a railway zone and completion of the Polavaram irrigation project are the key demands of the TDP.
The Centre tried to pacify its ally last week, 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 Arun Jaitley said.
Jaitley 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.
However, he 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).
The TDP also has to deal with YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, which has given a notice to move a no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha.
The party also announced earlier that 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 eight 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.
The BJP’s two ministers in the Naidu government – health minister Kamineni Srinivas and endowments minister P Manikyala Rao – quit after the TDP MPs announced they were resigning from the NDA.
No confidence motion
Before any vote takes place, the notice needs the support of 50 MPs ‘in an orderly house’. It is not clear the notice will get that on Friday.
With a comfortable majority in the house, the government is safe and will cruise through, even if the motion is admitted.
The YSRCP has nine MPs, but four have defected, leaving it with an effective strength of five; the TDP has 16 MPs, and it can’t risk not supporting a motion that purportedly has the state’s best interests in mind.
YSRCP MP YV Subba Reddy submitted a notice with the Lok Sabha secretariat, desiring to move a no confidence motion on Friday. Reddy has also written a letter seeking support from all non-NDA parties. The party initially planned to the motion on March 21, but advanced it amid apprehension that Parliament might adjourn sine die early in the wake of disruptions.
The budget session is scheduled to end on April 6.
The Congress, with 48 MPs, and the Trinamool Congress, with 34, were yet to take a call on the no-confidence motion late on Thursday.
The government, which has 307 MPs in the Lok Sabha (excluding TDP), is confident that the notice itself will not amount to much.