A day after the dramatic exit of the Telugu Desam Party from the NDA government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a call to the TDP president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday.
There is speculation on what the PM had told the CM, who is currently sitting on the fence by withdrawing his ministers from the government but is not pulling out his party from the alliance.
TNM has exclusive details of the conversation between the two top leaders.
A highly placed source working with the Chief Minister told TNM that the Prime Minister started the conversation by asking if they “can still sit and sort it out.” “The Chief Minister politely but firmly said we have waited enough," said the source.
Chandrababu Naidu then told the PM that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's press meet had made it clear that their demands (Special Category Status for Andhra) will not be met.
According to the source, the PM told the CM that they can still do something about it (Special Category Status). The Chief Minister replied saying, “If the Centre could do something about Special Category Status, you can still go ahead."
“But he made it clear that nonetheless his party leaders will be quitting as ministers, as announced on Wednesday night,” the source said.
Asked if the PM’s call was looking for reconciliation, the source said there was still time for the Centre to make amends. “It was a courtesy call by the PM as he couldn’t attend the call made by the CM to announce his decision of withdrawing the ministers. However, during the call, the PM said that there is still room to resolve the issue," the source added.
The TDP believes that this pressure of withdrawing ministers but yet continuing in the NDA coalition, will work to some level in compensating the injustice meted to the state.
On Thursday evening, minutes after the PM's call, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences Y S Chowdary met the PM at his residence and submitted their resignations personally.
After submitting the resignation, Chowdary clarified that they were still part of the NDA coalition but they will not continue as ministers.
“We will continue to be a part of the NDA, but not take up any ministerial positions. I don't think there is anything wrong in that.”
The Chief Minister earned the wrath of Leader of the Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy for still continuing in the NDA fold.
Slamming the CM, on Thursday morning, he said, “When he wants to withdraw his ministers, why is he still talking to the PM?”
“Why is he still acting like the NDA convener,” he questioned.