Rift between TDP and BJP widens: Chandrababu Naidu tells party MPs to keep up protest against Centre over Budget allocation

The rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) seems to be widening further, with the latter expressing displeasure over the allocation given to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget, and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu asking party MPs to keep pressuring the government to demand a substantative announcement for the state, media reports said.

Naidu, currently in Dubai, called an emergency teleconference meeting with TDP MPs late on Thursday and said that "the Centre was behaving in such a way that it was making people of Andhra Pradesh feel that they were not part of the nation", said a report in The Times of India.

During the conference, some of the TDP MPs told Naidu that the party should keep up the tough stance towards the Centre. "Naidu told us to protest in a serious way. The chef minister expressed unhappiness over the response from the Centre over the last 3-4 days," Thota Narasimham, TDP floor leader in the Lok Sabha, was quoted as saying in the report.

File image of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

File image of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. AFP

Naidu also told the MPs that he will conduct another round of teleconferencing with them on Friday, according to a report in Deccan Chronicle.

Naidu, according to India Today, has also said that a "crucial decision" regarding the alliance will be taken in a couple of days.

Special package to Andhra Pradesh 

Naidu's teleconference came hours after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday said that the Centre was sympathetically working on all issues concerning Andhra Pradesh, and a decision on a special package would be finalised over next few days.

Jaitley, who was replying to a debate on the general Budget in the Lok Sabha, told agitating members from Andhra Pradesh, including those from the TDP, that a package was promised to the people of Andhra Pradesh after Telangana was carved out of it, and while several parts of the package had been implemented, some work was being done.

Cracks in TDP-BJP alliance

Unhappy with Jaitley's statement in Parliament and claiming inadequate allocation of funds to Andhra Pradesh, Naidu on Thursday reportedly told the TDP MPs that the state was being given step-motherly treatment by the Centre.

TDP, BJP's biggest ally in the South, earlier expressed disappointment over Jaitley's Budget that it said did not address the state's needs. Since the last few weeks, there has been a "strong mood" among TDP leaders to break away from the alliance with the BJP.

Some senior TDP leaders on 2 February said off the record that almost everyone, including many district unit chiefs, wanted the party to end the alliance. Naidu has also reportedly expressed "serious displeasure" over the Union Budget and wondered why the Centre ignored the state.

Naidu's dilemma

Naidu and the TDP have repeatedly shifted their stance on the alliance with BJP in the last few days. On 2 February, Naidu apparently dissuaded his senior party colleagues from speaking about the fate of the alliance with BJP.

Two days later, the TDP said its alliance with BJP in Andhra Pradesh and the Centre was very much alive.

"As and when it is required, the chief minister and party chief will take the decision. As of today, it (the alliance) is just going on. We never said (about snapping ties)...it's all speculation," TDP leader and Union minister Y Satyanarayana Chowdary was quoted as saying by PTI on 4 February.

Three days later, launching a scathing attack on the government, TDP gave the Centre an ultimatum. The party even hinted that if the demands were not met, the TDP would leave the alliance.

"We have maintained the alliance dharma for five budgets. This is the final chance to fulfil your promises and assurances. It is now or never. We understand you have numbers (of MPs) to render us irrelevant, but elections are fast approaching, (and) based on current trends, the coming (2019) elections may be challenging," TDP MP Jayadev Galla was quoted as saying by IANS.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Feb 09, 2018 15:38 PM

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