Telugu Desam Party legislators on Tuesday voted in favour of ending the party’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for refusing to financially help Andhra Pradesh, The Indian Express reported. The lawmakers voiced their opinion during an impromptu poll that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held during a legislature party meeting in Amaravati.
The two ministers from the TDP in Narendra Modi’s Cabinet – Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdhary – may even resign from their posts, The Times of India reported. “CM Naidu is now all set to take steps to end the alliance,” the daily quoted an unidentified TDP leader as saying. “It will begin with the two central ministers stepping down, most likely on March 10. Withdrawing support to the NDA government at the Centre is likely to happen in the next few days after the two ministers resign.”
At the party meeting, Naidu claimed that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had “cold shouldered” a delegation led by state Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu on Monday evening, The Indian Express reported.
“Jaitley not only refused to acknowledge any of demands put forward, including the request to release funds to bridge the revenue deficit gap of over Rs 16,000 crore, but also said there was no question of granting Special Category Status and that there was very little fund left to give under the special package announced in 2017 as most of the funds have already been given,” the chief minister said. “This attitude is very disparaging and unacceptable. We have time and again told the Centre that Special Category Status is our right as we have suffered immensely due to the unscientific and irrational bifurcation of the state.”
Andhra Pradesh, Naidu added, requires “hand-holding by the Centre” for a few years to ensure that it can compete with other states in the region. “But we are not getting response from the Centre. So should we continue in this alliance with the BJP?”
TDP legislators demanding special status for the state have disrupted proceedings in Parliament for the last two days. On Tuesday, the TDP and the YSR Congress held a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi during which Congress President Rahul Gandhi promised to grant the state special status if his party is voted to power in the 2019 General Elections.
The BJP, meanwhile, is bracing for the alliance with TDP to collapse. “We are committed to the development of Andhra Pradesh and have done everything possible to help the state government,” an unidentified leader was quoted as saying by The Times of India. “But we cannot meet impossible demands. We cannot give special category status on the ground of backwardness because on that count it is Bihar that should be considered first.”