After the Centre has made it clear that the Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh cannot be met, the party that rules the state is likely to withdraw from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Sources in the TDP have told India Today that the party’s two central ministers in Narendra Modi’s Cabinet – Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdhary – may resign. TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has reportedly told the two leaders to “be ready to resign”.
The TDP has been protesting in and outside Parliament for a special package for Andhra Pradesh. Its MPs have been consistently disrupting proceedings in Parliament since the beginning of the ongoing Budget session.
At a meeting of all the 125 TDP MLAs and 34 MLCs in Vijayawada on Tuesday chaired by Naidu, a majority of the party’s legislatures have favoured breaking of the alliance with the BJP.
Sources in the TDP said a deadline of March 10 has been given to the BJP to come out and make concrete announcements about the Andhra special package in Parliament. Meanwhile, Naidu has told his MPs to continue their protest in the House.”We have informed the central government about our 19 demands, including promises made by the then PM Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha. We are awaiting their response. Till then, we will continue to fight for our rights,” a TDP source told India Today.
Naidu is also likely to make a statement on his alliance with the BJP in the ongoing Budget session of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today.
The TDP has also approached like-minded parties like the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Biju Janata Dal, and two NDA constituents – the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal – seeking their support on the special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
On Tuesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had made an unscheduled appearance at a TDP protest at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and promised that if his party wins the 2019 election, the special category status will be granted to Andhra Pradesh.
The TDP may also join former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s dinner on March 13, which has been called to forge a united front against the BJP in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election.