President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday accepted the resignations of Telugu Desam Party MPs Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary from the Union Cabinet, PTI reported. Chowdary was the minister of state for science and technology and earth sciences, while Raju was in charge of the civil aviation ministry.
“Further, as advised by the prime minister, the president has directed that the work of the Ministry of Civil Aviation will be looked after by the prime minister,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a statement.
After submitting his resignation on Thursday, Chowdary had compared the decision to an unfortunate divorce and said they had to resign from their Cabinet positions because of “unavoidable circumstances”. However, he ruled out the possibility of his party leaving the National Democratic Alliance, despite its differences with the Bharatiya Janata Party on granting Andhra Pradesh special category status.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu announced the decision to withdraw the two leaders from the Union Cabinet hours after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said on Wednesday that the state could only get a “special package”, not special category status.
The TDP is the National Democratic Alliance’s third-largest constituent in the Lok Sabha with 16 MPs, and its only ally in the south.
Its decision to withdraw the ministers came after weeks of protests by legislators from Andhra Pradesh demanding special category status for their state. The Budget Session of the Parliament has been repeatedly adjourned over their demand. The lawmakers had also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of not allocating enough funds for Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget this year.