The Telugu Desam Party moved a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on Friday, hours after the party broke its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till Monday after Telugu Desam Party legislators stormed the well of the House.

A no-confidence motion can be accepted only if it has the support of at least 50 members in the House. The Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which together have more than 50 members, are likely to support the motion. Tamil Nadu’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will support the motion if the Centre does not constitute the Cauvery Management Board, party leader KC Palanisamy said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu told the state Assembly that he took the decision to quit the BJP-led alliance keeping in mind the state’s interests. “For four years I made every effort, went to Delhi 29 times, and asked [for special status] many times,” Naidu said. “This was the Centre’s last Budget and there was no mention of Andhra Pradesh.”

He criticised Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for saying that sentiment cannot increase the quantum of funds. “What a reckless statement,” the chief minister said. “Telangana was carved for sentiment. Sentiment is very powerful. Even now you are doing injustice.”

If the provision for special status had been included in the bifurcation act, this situation would have not arisen, Naidu added.

Repeated adjournments

The Telugu Desam Party has been protesting for weeks demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. The Budget Session of the Parliament has been repeatedly adjourned over their demand. The lawmakers had also accused the BJP-led government of not allocating enough funds for Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget this year.

“We go according to principles,” Telugu Desam Party’s floor leader in the Lok Sabha Thota Narasimham told PTI. “Our leader felt being part of NDA and moving a no-confidence motion would not be ethical. So we withdrew from the NDA and I have issued a letter on no-confidence motion to the Speaker at 9.30 am.”

On Thursday, YSR Congress legislator YV Subba Reddy handed over a notice to the Lok Sabha secretary-general, asking that a no-confidence motion be moved against the government. He asked for it to be included for business on Friday. The Telugu Desam Party had earlier said it would support the YSR Congress’ no-confidence motion, but on Friday it said that it had “no confidence in that motion”.

“If it is not taken due to lack of time today [Friday], on Monday we will get signatures from 54 MPs from various other parties and push for a no-confidence motion vigorously,” TDP leader CM Ramesh said.

‘Government not in danger’

Leaders of the National Democratic Alliance, meanwhile, said though the Telugu Desam Party’s withdrawal is unfortunate, there is no danger to the government. Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi told ANI, “In a big alliance, small difference of opinions happen. There is no danger to NDA government.”

BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said the Andhra Pradesh government and the Telugu Desam Party are “feeling the pinch of the public opinion going against them” and the saffron party will “use this as an opportunity to grow as a political party and emerge as a dominant political force” in the southern state. “We believe TDP is finding the going tough in Andhra Pradesh, they are seeing a defeat for themselves in 2019 and they want to use this as an alibi to really retrieve lost political ground.”

The question is why chief minister Chandrababu Naidu took four years to realise the alliance with BJP is not working, he added.