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TDP says two of its ministers may resign from NDA govt tomorrow over Andhra special status issue

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a key ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Wednesday night decided to pull out of the Narendra Modi government after the Centre ruled out special category Status for Andhra Pradesh, among other demands.

"We have decided to pull out of the Union government, because the Centre has failed to meet the demands of the TDP on special status for Andhra Pradesh, which was promised at the time of bifurcation, and other demands relating to state's finances," Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu told the media late in the night on Wednesday after holding consultations with the party colleagues.

File image of TDP flags. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The decision comes amid the ongoing deadlock over the granting of 'special category' status to Andhra Pradesh. TDP MLAs and MLCs had urged Naidu to snap ties with the BJP-led NDA.

Naidu has also asked two of its Members of Parliament, Cabinet Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State YS Chowdhary, to submit their resignations on Thursday.

He, however, said that even though his party was pulling out of the NDA "but party-to-party issue (of ties with the BJP) will be decided later.

"We wanted to convey the information about pulling out from the government to Prime Minister Narendra Modi out of courtesy, but he could not be contacted... My OSD has conveyed it to the PM's OSD," Naidu said.

"Arun Jaitley's statement was the last straw. They are apparently predetermined. They don't appear to help the state," he added.

Earlier in the day, Jaitley said that the government will stand by all its commitments regarding the funds that were promised to Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation. However, he also added that "sentiments do not define the quantum of funds" as the Centre has to look at a number of things.

Earlier, TDP MP Naramalli Sivaprasad, who has been protesting inside the Parliament demanding special-category status for the state, said the issue between the BJP and his party has come to a "climax" and Chief Minister Naidu would soon take a call on the alliance.

The party had earlier set a deadline of 10 March for BJP to come out and make concrete announcements about the Andhra special package in Parliament, India Today reported. But as Naidu said, Jaitley's press conference in the morning "was the last straw."

Meanwhile, Congress has termed the party's decision to pull out of the NDA "too little, too late" as it "has done nothing" to protect the interests of Andhra Pradesh in the past four years. Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh and former union minister MM Pallam Raju said the TDP has "abandoned" the interests of the state and that this is political posturing in view of the prevailing public mood .

Another Congress leader, speaking to PTI, ruled out possibility of any potential of understanding between the Congress and TDP.

For all these years the Congress has been struggling to secure what is rightfully the due of the state and the TDP has "sacrificed" the state's interests and is now indulging in political posturing. "Pulling out ministers from the government means nothing," the party leader said.

Earlier, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had appeared supportive of the TDP's demand as he had said that his party will grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh if voted to power in the general elections in 2019. Even the Aam Aadmi Party has decided to support the demand.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Mar 08, 2018 00:59 AM

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