After two months of indecision and acrimony, protests and disruptions in Parliament, the Telugu Desam has decided to quit the NDA Cabinet. On Wednesday night, TD’s national president N. Chandrababu Naidu directed the two Union ministers from the party to submit their resignations on Thursday.
Mr Naidu addressed a media conference on Wednesday. He said he had tried to convey the party’s decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Prime Minister was not available. The decision has been conveyed to the PM’s officer on special duty.
Mr Naidu objected to the Union Government’s statement that it also has to look to the nation’s defence and security needs, and expressed his anger at the AP government being called greedy for funds and money.
This is not the bifurcation we asked for, Mr Naidu said. He called the division of the state most unscientific and recalled that as a party in Opposition then, the BJP had also called the division irrational and demanded special status for the rump state of Andhra Pradesh.
Mr Naidu pointed out that from Union minister Arun Jaitley’s statement earlier on Wednesday that “sentiments” cannot define the quantum of funds the state receives from the Centre, it seems as if the NDA has predetermined the outcome of AP’s demands “and hence we have decided to quit from the NDA Cabinet”.
However, the party-to-party alliance will continue as of now, Mr Naidu said. “Our rights are first and all the rest is secondary,” he observed.
There was an outpouring of support on the social media for Mr Naidu soon after his decision.
Meanwhile, in a tit for tat situation, the two BJP members in the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet announced that they have resigned. The two are medical and health minister Kamineni Srinivas and P. Manikyala Rao. Mr Srinivas said when TD ministers quit from Union Cabinet it is not proper for them to continue in the state Cabinet. The two Union ministers who are expected to resign on Thursday are Ashok Ganapathi Raju and Y.S. Chowdary.
The TD had carried out an impromptu poll during the TDLP meet on Tuesday in which 95 per cent of the MLAs voted against the continuation of the alliance with the BJP, while 5 per cent of the MLAs wanted to wait and watch for some more time.
The BJP sitting on a comfortable majority has been unaffected as it is not dependent on its partners to be in government. Mr Naidu was one of the first to support the BJP in 2014 and now that he has withdrawn a Third Front seems a reality.