TDP pulls out of NDA, moves no-confidence motion in LS; BJP says move 'far from being a threat'

Hours after Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced in Amaravati that the TDP was exiting the NDA, the party moved a no-confidence motion against the central government in the Lok Sabha. However, as protests marred the proceedings, the Speaker said she cannot take it up and adjourned the Lower House for the day.

The government exuded confidence that it has the numbers to ride out of the crisis with BJP terming the decision by Andhra Pradesh's ruling party to quit the NDA "inevitable".

The BJP, which claimed this provided an opportunity for it to grow in the state, faces the prospect of going it alone in the elections in Andhra Pradesh in 2019 with the two main regional parties — TDP and YSR Congress — against it.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister announced on Friday that the TDP would pull out of the NDA government. AP

Andhra Pradesh chief minister announced on Friday that the TDP would pull out of the NDA government. AP

The TDP, which is in power in the state, had on Thursday offered to back the YSR Congress' no-confidence motion but said it withdrew the support as it suspected a nexus between it and the BJP. The YSR Congress' motion is pending.

"We go according to principles. 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," Thota Narasimham, the TDP's floor leader in the Lok Sabha, told reporters.

He said that letters would go out to BJP leaders about the party's decision to exit the alliance.

His party colleague Ramesh claimed that YSR Congress MP Vijaysai Reddy was seen making attempts to meet Modi and this, he said, hinted at a nexus between both parties.

"We have no confidence in their no-confidence motion, so we have decided to go on our own," he said.

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

The motion can be accepted only if it has the support of at least 50 members in the House.

While the TDP has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha, the YSR Congress has nine.

Later, Naidu informed the Andhra Pradesh Assembly about TDP's decision to pull out of NDA.

"I took the decision, not for selfish reasons, but for the interests of Andhra Pradesh. For four years, I took all the efforts, went to Delhi 29 times. This was the NDA government's last budget, but there was no mention of Andhra Pradesh. We had to pull our ministers out of the Cabinet," the TDP chief said.

He criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's stand that "sentiments cannot increase quantum of funds" given to a state.

Opposition parties show support

Congress and Left leaders said they would support the motion against the government. "When the Andhra parties bring a no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, we will support it," Mohammad Salim of the CPM said.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party would also support the motion but asked the two regional parties to not play politics over the matter.

Asserting that every state has its own problems, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that TDP's move to quit NDA was "correct" since it was in the interest of "a better cause". "Initially TDP was with the NDA and now they have left the alliance for a better cause. Whatever TDP has decided is correct," said Banerjee.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) ruled out its support for the no-confidence motion against the NDA government, describing the move in the Lok Sabha as a "political gimmick".  TRS parliamentary party leader K Keshava Rao, however, said his outfit supports the demand for SCS.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu's AIADMK set conditions for its support to the no-trust vote.  Former MP and AIADMK spokesperson KC Palanisamy said, "If the Centre refuses to set up the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as the Supreme Court ordered, the AIADMK may support the no-trust motion."

As the Opposition counted its numbers, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the whole country has full confidence in Modi as does the House. "The government has the numbers... We are ready to take up everything," he said. Union minister Piyush Goyal said that there is no government more sensitive to the demands and the needs of the people of Andhra Pradesh than the current one led by Narendra Modi. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao accused the TDP of resorting to "lies to cover up its inept and inert governance".

ANI reported that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is expected to hold a meeting with party MPs and senior leaders soon to decide a stand on the no-confidence motion. Shiv Sena is the largest non-BJP constituent of the NDA. In 2017, it had expressed that it would part ways with the BJP, but later, the party reversed its call.

With the BJP alone having 274 members in the 536-member Lok Sabha, the no-confidence motion, if accepted, is likely to be defeated but it has the potential to put the saffron party in a tight corner in the state.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Mar 16, 2018 18:06:06 IST

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