Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers in the Andhra Pradesh government tendered their resignations to the Chief Minister’s office on Thursday after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Wednesday night announced that it was pulling out of the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, with two of the party’s ministers resigning from the Union Cabinet on Thursday. The N Chandrababu Naidu-led party took the decision protesting the Centre’s refusal to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.
In the state Assembly, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said that what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday regarding Andhra Pradesh not being granted special category status was not good. “You are holding hand of the North Eastern states but not Andhra Pradesh’s. You are giving industrial incentives to them, not to Andhra Pradesh. Why this discrimination?” said Naidu.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s promise on Wednesday to provide Andhra Pradesh funds equivalent to what a special-category state receives could not placate Naidu and the TDP. At a press conference, Jaitley had said that the Centre was committed to meeting all the promises made to Andhra Pradesh at the time of the creation of the state of Telangana, which was carved out of the former, four years ago. However, he rejected Andhra’s demand for a special status.
Chief Minister Naidu on Thursday said that the TDP’s ministers in the central Cabinet and BJP ministers in the state Cabinet had resigned. He added that these ministers worked well in the state and that they brought considerable reforms to their departments. “I thank them for their services,” added Naidu.
On Wednesday night, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu had announced that two TDP ministers — Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary — would tender their resignations from the Union Cabinet on Thursday morning.
Here are the top 10 developments around Chandrababu Naidu pulling the TDP out of the NDA:
1) Chandrababu Naidu alleges discrimination by Centre: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said that Jaitley’s statement on Wednesday that his state could not be granted a special-category status was not good, news agency ANI reported. “You are holding hand of the North Eastern states but not Andhra Pradesh’s. You are giving industrial incentives to them, not to Andhra Pradesh. Why this discrimination?” Naidu said in the state Assembly.
2) Two BJP ministers in Andhra government submit resignation: Amid deteriorating ties between TDP and BJP, two BJP ministers in the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet submitted their resignations at the Chief Minister’s office on Thursday. The ministers who have submitted their resignation from Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet are State Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas and State Endowment Minister Pydikondala Manikyala Rao.
Earlier, BJP leader P V N Madhav had told news agencies, “Our ministers will resign from Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Cabinet.” Madhav had said, “We have decided that our ministers will resign from TDP Cabinet. We will be going to the people and telling them all the things Centre has done for the state. Since independence till date, no state has received as many favours as those that were given to Andhra Pradesh.”
3) TDP MPs protest outside Parliament: Continuing with their demands for their state, TDP MPs on Thursday protested inside the Parliament premises for granting special-category status to Andhra Pradesh, news agency ANI reported.
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TDP MP Ram Mohan Naidu told news agency ANI: “It’s the decision we took after Arun Jaitley’s statement”. Naidu said that when the TDP was asking for its right, it could not be rejected. “Alliance is still under negotiation. We don’t want to make it a political fight between TDP and BJP but a fight for the state,” he added.
The TDP was not alone, though. YSR Congress MPs also protested outside Parliament on Thursday for granting special-category status to Andhra Pradesh, according to news agency ANI.
4) Two TDP ministers resign from Modi Cabinet: Our ministers in the central Cabinet have resigned, N Chandrababu Naidu said on Thursday in the state Assembly.
The two TDP ministers in the Modi government on Wednesday night were instructed to resign from the Union Cabinet on Thursday by Chandrababu Naidu. The TDP ministers concerned are Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary.
According to sources, while Naidu consulted with his party legislators in Amaravati, Civil Aviation Minister Raju attended the Wednesday meeting of the Union Cabinet. According to news agencies, nearly all TDP legislators and Members of Parliament (MPs) urged Naidu to walk out of the NDA.
On Wednesday, Naidu had said that Jaitley’s announcement was the “last straw” for him. Following mounting pressure from the Opposition, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister had repeatedly insisted on a special category status for his state. Naidu added that Jaitley’s statement was nothing but insulting to the TDP.
The TDP supremo and chief minister added that as a courtesy, he had tried to speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone to inform him about the decision to pull out of the NDA government. “It is my responsibility as a coalition partner to inform the prime minister about our party’s decision.
My OSD spoke to his OSD but the prime minister did not come on line,” he said.
Naidu said Jaitley’s comments suggested that Andhra Pradesh was asking for too much. He also slammed the finance minister for saying “sentiments will not decide the quantum of funds”. He said that he made 29 trips to Delhi, met with Prime Minister Modi and other ministers, and tried to do his best to do justice to his state. “I am not angry with anybody,” he added.
Naidu hoped that at least now the Centre would respect the sentiment of Andhra Pradesh’s people.
5) ‘We’ve waited enough’: Amid the deteriorating ties between the TDP and the BJP, Andhra Pradesh IT Minister Nara Lokesh confirmed that the party members in the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet would resign. Lokesh took to Twitter and said, “We’ve waited enough.”
“We’ve believed in false promises enough. Our ministers are resigning from the Union Cabinet. We will do whatever it takes to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh,” his tweet said.
6) Jaitley rejects demand for special-category status: On Wednesday, ahead of the TDP-BJP split, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised Andhra Pradesh funds equivalent to what a special-category state would receive. At a press conference, Jaitley said that his government and the Centre were committed to meeting all the promises made to Andhra at the time of the creation of Telangana, which was carved out of Andhra, four years ago. However, he rejected Naidu’s demand for special-category status for the state.
After the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendation, giving special category status, as demanded by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, to any state apart from those in the Northeast and three hilly provinces was not constitutionally possible, Jaitley said.
Jaitley said: “Political issues cannot increase the quantum of money because the Centre has no free-floating funds. Every state in India has the right to the central fund in the same manner. Sentiment does not decide quantum of funds, it is the constitutional award of the Finance Commission which decides on the quantum of funds that a state gets.”
In Andhra Pradesh, Jaitley said that the Centre had committed 90 per cent of the funds for centrally sponsored schemes. This, according to Jaitley, was equivalent to the treatment for special-category states. This, he said, had been done through other means like external agencies, including the World Bank.
Jaitley said that the state government, however, wanted funds to be routed through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. He had added that the Centre was agreeable to that, provided that a mechanism was worked out.
7) ‘More actions’ may be taken by TDP: At present, it is not clear whether the TDP will continue to provide outside support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.
On Wednesday, Naidu had said that while the TDP had pulled out of the NDA, party-to-party (TDP-BJP ties) issue would be decided on at a later time. According to news agencies, this was a hint that the alliance might continue in the future.
However, while Naidu announced in Amaravati that the two TDP ministers would resign from the Union Cabinet, he also said: “This is the first step. We will go ahead with other actions later.”
8) BJP says it went ‘out of its way’ for Andhra: The BJP has rejected Chandrababu Naidu’s charge that the Centre has neglected Andhra Pradesh. The party said that the Centre had not only fulfilled all its obligations but also gone out of its way to help the state.
BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said that the Modi government had worked to ensure that Andhra Pradesh received full resources in the infrastructure and industrial sectors after the bifurcation of the state. Political parties in Andhra Pradesh had been raking up the demand for a special category status for the state without acknowledging that the Centre had offered the state all the benefits without giving this tag, which had become redundant after the 14th Finance Commission report, Rao said. He added that a special category status had ceased to exist.
9) Congress says TDP move ‘too little, too late’: On Wednesday, the Congress said that the TDP’s decision to pull out of the NDA government at the Centre was “too little, too late”. The party added that TDP had “done nothing” to protect Andhra Pradesh’s interests in the past four years.
“This is too little and too late. The TDP has been an ally of the BJP for four years now and has done nothing to protect the interests of Andhra Pradesh,” senior Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh and former Union minister M M Pallam Raju said.
10) Rahul backs special status for Andhra Pradesh: Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi batted for a special-category status for Andhra Pradesh. The Congress President announced this after he joined a protest at Jantar Mantar demanding a ‘special status’ for the state. MPs of the TDP and the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) had staged the protest.
Gandhi told the TDP and YSRCP MPs that the Congress party was in favour of granting a special status to Andhra Pradesh. He added that if the Congress came to power in 2019, it would ensure the same.