It’s official: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has announced TDP’s exit from the NDA government.
Speaking at a press conference, the CM said that two Union Ministers from TDP, Ashok Ganapathi Raju and YS Chowdary, will resign on Thursday from the Cabinet. "What is the purpose of putting our members in the Central cabinet? As that purpose has failed, we're calling back our leaders," said the AP CM.
The TDP's highly speculated move comes hours after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while talking to the media, justified the denial of special status to Andhra stating that the Centre is already giving the financial benefits equivalent to the SCS through the special package.
The Andhra CM said that it is wrong to compare Andhra to other states that are backward. "We are asking for special status because it was promised to us during bifurcation," he said. He added that he tried to reach out to the PMO but that it was unavailable on Wednesday.
The centre and the state government have for some time now been in a deadlock over several issues, especially the TDP's demand for special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
According to top TDP sources, the decision had already been taken on Tuesday at a meeting held in Amaravati when CM Chandrababu Naidu held a discussion with lawmakers who voted to opt out.
This was after party leaders met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday but failed to make a breakthrough.
Apart from the demand for special status, the party had also insisted that the Centre should bridge the Rs 16,000-crore revenue deficit and extend industrial incentives at par with other states.
During the meeting at Amravati, Naidu is said to have called the Centre's attitude towards its demands "very disparaging and unacceptable."
"We have time and again told the Centre that Special Category Status is our right as we have suffered immensely due to the unscientific and irrational bifurcation of state. We have also told them that AP needs hand-holding by the Centre for some years to ensure a level-playing field among other states in south India, by fulfilling all the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act. But we are not getting response from the Centre. So should we continue in this alliance with the BJP?" he asked.
The TDP has been demanding the Centre to fulfil all commitments made in at the time of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. Naidu had alleged that the Centre's attitude was causing unrest among people. He had even threatened to move the Supreme Court over the Centre not fulfilling the commitments.
"What they committed, they are not giving, causing unrest among people," the CM had said at the CII Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam in February.
The wedge between the two parties came to fore once again after the Union Budget 2018-19 was announced. TDP cried hoarse that it had been given a raw deal.
Although the TDP had last year given up its demand of special category status in lieu of the special package announced by Jaitley, in recent days it once again raised the issue.
Party leaders said that since Jaitley's promise that the state would get the same financial benefits under the package which it would have got with the special status remained unfulfilled, they were demanding the special status.
With IANS inputs