TDP retains alliance with BJP as Chandrababu Naidu softens stance; party demands more funds for Andhra Pradesh

As Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu held a crucial parliamentary board meeting with the party MPs and senior MLA to review ties with its ally BJP, Amit Shah reportedly rang up Naidu asking him not to take "tough decisions".

According to Times Now, BJP president Shah dialed Naidu and asked him not to take any hasty decision.

Interestingly, post its internal meeting, the party reiterated its stand on 'alliance' with BJP, saying it will take the right decision at the right time. Though TDP demanded more funds for Andhra Pradesh from the Centre, when it comes to party's alliance with BJP, it's still status quo.

TDP said it will not snap ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

"The TDP will not break its alliance with the BJP-led NDA," party leader and Union minister YS Chowdary said after the meeting.

Chowdary said they would first raise issues concerning the state with the Centre and try to get them addressed. "If the Centre does not concede to our demands, then we
will undertake protest both inside and outside Parliament," he added.

"It was all media speculation," Chowdary said when asked if the TDP was ready for a divorce with the NDA. Asked if BJP chief Amit Shah had spoken with Naidu, he replied in the negative.

He said Naidu did not speak to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, the BJP's bickering ally, as some media reports had claimed.

So, was the meeting just a gimmick? It would seem so.

TDP's meeting had come two days after the party, BJP's biggest ally in the South, expressed disappointment over finance minister Arun Jaitley's budget, which it said "did not address Andhra Pradesh's needs".

Responding to the reports of TDP being upset with the BJP, Jaitley on Sunday, in an interview with CNN-News18, said the differences with the alliance partner will be amicably resolved and exuded confidence that NDA will remain intact to face the 2019 general elections together.

“We are implementing the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation package separately. It has nothing to do with the Budget. We will fulfill all that has been promised to the people of Andhra Pradesh,” Jaitley had told CNN-News18.

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav on Saturday had also said that the party and the Centre would soon be extending the olive branch to Naidu to resolve the issue, ANI reported.

File image of Chandrababu Naidu. News18

File image of Chandrababu Naidu. News18

"There seems to be some kind of unhappiness, we will talk it out. TDP is an old ally of BJP. We will talk it out with them and will tell them we are committed to the interests of Andhra Pradesh," Madhav was quoted as saying by ANI.

On Friday it was reported that there was a "strong mood" among TDP leaders to break away from the alliance with the BJP, the sources had said. Some senior TDP leaders had said off the record that almost everyone, including many district unit chiefs, wanted the TDP to end the alliance with BJP after the budget "ignored" the state.

However, according to party sources, Naidu had apparently dissuaded his senior party colleagues from speaking about the fate of the alliance with BJP and dwelt on the Rajasthan bypoll results where the BJP tasted defeat.

The TDP sources said that according to Naidu, the bypoll results were a clear example that people would be unsparing if governance was not good.

Naidu also reportedly expressed "serious displeasure" over the Union budget and wondered why the Centre ignored the state.

Last month, responding to a question on the critical remarks made by some BJP leaders against the TDP government, Naidu, refusing to be drawn into a duel with ally BJP, had said that he would speak out if, and when, the latter did not want to continue with the alliance.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Feb 04, 2018 16:17 PM

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