The Telugu Desam Party’s rank and file was seething with anger at the top leadership for its handling of the voting in the Rajya Sabha on the FDI Bill from which three MPs absented themselves on Friday.
At receiving end
Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu was himself at the receiving end of this resentment for his failure to crack the whip against Y. Sujana Chowdary, T. Devender Goud and Gundu Sudha Rani, MPs, whose explanations for being absent sounded flimsy and unconvincing.
The unsavoury episode only strengthened the YSR Congress’ allegation that Mr. Naidu was “hand in glove” with the Congress party leadership.
TDP leaders had a different story to tell.
They said Mr. Naidu was deeply distressed over the MPs’ action and made his displeasure clear at a teleconference with Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and senior party leaders from his padayatra in Adilabad district on Saturday.
‘Brings bad name’
“Their action has not only brought the party a bad name but has undone all the hard work in fighting the Congress, including my 1,000-km long padayatra,” Mr. Naidu was quoted as saying.
Some leaders also fumed at Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party leader Nama Nageswara Rao for his failure to devise a strategy for voting on the FDI Bill.
Given that the TDP is on the backfoot due to attacks by YSRC and TRS, party leaders were conscious that suspension of the ‘errant’ MPs would only harm the TDP’s interests. But they should be asked to tender public apology so that the TDP’s pride could be salvaged.
However, TDP MLA K. Dayakar Reddy demanded the resignation of the MPs for their ‘unpardonable’ act. Those who can’t win even as ward members were made MPs, he said. Another senior leader, Kadiam Srihari and MLA, P. Keshav said they not only went against the party’s decision but had also deceived it.
Meanwhile, the YSRC alleged that Mr. Naidu had prior knowledge that his MPs would be absent during the voting in Rajya Sabha.
Party spokesman Gattu Ramachandra Rao said Mr. Naidu was looking out for a strategic alliance for his family-run Heritage Foods even as he criticised the Centre for allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. “Three party MPs cannot skip voting without his (Mr. Naidu’s) knowledge,” he said.
The TRS has said that the political grapevine in New Delhi was active about Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s connections with Mr. Chowdary.
Former MP of TRS B. Vinod Kumar said the Congress had kept the three MPs as a reserve in the event of BSP playing a trick at the last minute.