Crucial TDP meet today, Chandrababu Naidu may take a call on NDA alliance
Andhra Pradesh votes for the Lok Sabha and assembly elections simultaneously. The TDP and BJP alliance won 18 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats and 103 of the 175 assembly seats of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.Updated: Feb 04, 2018 11:10 IST
The Telugu Desam Party – the BJP’s largest ally in the South – has said that it will decide on the issue of continuing in the National Democratic Alliance at an emergency meeting of its party MPs on Sunday as it mounted further pressure on its senior partner over allocations in the Union budget.
TDP president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a lengthy meeting with senior leaders of the party’s coordination committee on Friday to seek their views on the future course of action.
According to party sources, almost all the leaders suggested that the sooner the TDP pulls out of the NDA, the better, since it would send a wrong signal among the cadre as well as the people if the alliance with the BJP continued despite what it saw as humiliation by the Centre.
The party’s Rajya Sabha MP TG Venkatesh said they discussed three options: Withdrawing ministers from the government, all MPs resigning from Parliament and pulling out of the NDA. “We are going to declare a war on the BJP,” he said.
Three BJP spokespersons this newspaper reached out for a reaction refused to comment on the development.
Andhra Pradesh votes for the Lok Sabha and assembly elections simultaneously. The TDP and BJP alliance won 18 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats and 103 of the 175 assembly seats of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
“I am ready to resign from Lok Sabha to register my protest, the moment I get a signal from the party president. There is no respect for the TDP MPs in NDA, though we are alliance partners. The BJP listens only to the RSS, not its allies,” Narasaropet MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao said after the meeting.
He alleged that the BJP was trying to grow in AP by creating troubles for the TDP. “If BJP tries to act smart, it will face the same fate as the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh,” he added.
Discontent had been simmering in the TDP for quite some time, much before the presentation of the budget. Apparently, Naidu is suspicious of the BJP cosying up with its political rival YS Jaganmohan Reddy, president of the YSR Congress Party, who told a national TV channel a few days ago that his party was not averse to forging an alliance with the saffron party.
Naidu, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month after repeated attempts over the last one-and-a-half years, appeared unhappy with the cold response from the latter to his memorandum listing out the issues confronting the state since the last four years.
Naidu’s disenchantment with the Centre was evident when he indicated at an official meeting that his government might move the Supreme Court if certain assurances given in the Bifurcation Act were not implemented. The TDP expressed its dissent by opposing the triple talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha and supported the Congress demand to refer the same to a select committee.
Last week, Naidu told the media in Vijayawada that his party would say good-bye to the BJP if the latter did not want to continue the alliance. He accused BJP leaders of violating the coalition dharma by criticising the state government. The Union Budget seemed to be the proverbial last straw for Naidu.
The TDP is the NDA’s third largest constituent with 16 Lok Sabha MPs, but its pulling out of the alliance will have no bearing on stability of the Modi government. The BJP has a clear majority on its own with 275 Lok Sabha MPs.
Naidu “rebellion” comes within days of the BJP’s largest ally, the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, announcing to go solo in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.