The Telugu Desam Party’s decision to quit the National Democratic Alliance was unfortunate and unilateral and will be construed “solely guided by political considerations instead of developmental concerns of Andhra Pradesh”, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah claimed on Saturday.
Andhra Pradesh has been demanding special category status since its bifurcation in 2014. The demand gained momentum after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget in Parliament, after which Andhra Pradesh accused the government of not allocating enough funds for the state.
The Telugu Desam Party pulled out of the BJP-led alliance after government refused to grant it special category status. The Centre, instead, said it would grant Andhra Pradesh a “special package”, which it claimed would be equivalent to a special status.
In an open letter addressed to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Shah said on Saturday that it was “widely known” the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has left no stone unturned in ensuring the growth and prosperity of Andhra Pradesh”.
“Andhra Pradesh figures very prominently in our agenda of national development,” he said. “Since the discussion of bifurcating united Andhra Pradesh till the present, it is the BJP that has led the voice of safeguarding the welfare of Telugu people in both Telugu states. This is in direct contrast to the Congress party, which not only mismanaged the bifurcation but also showed zero sensitivity towards the Telugu people.”
Shah’s letter comes a week after the Telugu Desam Party – the BJP’s only ally in the south – moved a no-confidence motion against the Centre in the Lok Sabha after breaking the alliance. Two leaders of the party had also resigned from their Cabinet positions in protest against the Centre’s refusal to grant Andhra Pradesh special category status.