TDP Ministers Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Y.S. Chowdary resign from Union Cabinet

This follows Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's observation that the Centre cannot offer special status to Andhra Pradesh.

March 08, 2018 06:53 pm | Updated December 01, 2021 12:37 pm IST - New Delhi

TDP leader and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi arrives in the Parliament House on March 8, 2018.

TDP leader and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi arrives in the Parliament House on March 8, 2018.

Upping the ante in their demand for Special Category Status and more funds for Andhra Pradesh, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology Y.S. Chowdary of the Telugu Desam Party submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the first instance of an ally pulling out of the Modi government.

Following this, BJP Ministers Kamineni Srinivas (Health) and Pydikondala Manikyala Rao (Endowments) resigned from the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet, headed by N. Chandrababu Naidu. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan accepted the resignations after the letters were forwarded by the Chief Minister’s Office.

Mr. Raju and Mr. Chowdary described their meeting with the Prime Minister as “cordial”.

“The PM called it an unfortunate event. He said we were working well together and he thanked us for our contribution. We too thanked him for allowing us to work in his team,” Mr. Chowdary told The Hindu .

The two leaders, however, insisted that the TDP continued to be part of the National Democratic Alliance.

‘Lot of time has lapsed’

Asked if the Prime Minister offered any solution, Mr. Chowdary said, “I don’t think it is fair on our part to expect the PM to deal with these issues. It is for the concerned Ministries to take up; already considerable amount of time has lapsed.”

He said the TDP would continue its campaign for special status. “We will continue to pursue it and see to it that the commitment given to Andhra Pradesh is met.”

According to senior leaders, the TDP might pull out of the NDA once the Budget session of Parliament ends on April 6. Till then, they will keep up the pressure on the government. “In Rajya Sabha, BJP is not in majority. We will not let the House run. We will be on our feet every day,” a senior leader said.

Mr. Raju and Mr. Chowdary, however, denied any possibility of joining forces with the Congress, whom they blame for the State’s current situation.

The TDP said it would not be part of any front chaired by the Congress. “Our party was born on the anti-Congress plank. Our priority is Andhra Pradesh. As far the so-called Federal Front, there are at least half-a-dozen PM aspirants and we do not want to be part of that race,” Mr. Chowdary added.

Meanwhile, there was speculation that Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress could use the opportunity to join hands with the BJP. “That is between those two parties, we have nothing to say on that. You can ask them,” Mr. Chowdary said.

The resignation of the BJP Ministers in Andhra Pradesh, which was planned on Wednesday night itself following a green signal from the high command, came before Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu presented the Budget in the Assembly.

Dr. Srinivas and Mr. Rao submitted their resignations to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and stayed away from the special Cabinet meeting.

Dr. Srinivas stated in his letter that the differences and disagreements that had surfaced — in spite of the existence of able, hard-working and delivery-oriented governments at the Centre and in the State — pained every right-thinking individual. Both MLAs were, however, all praise for the leadership of Mr. Naidu, and maintained that there were a lot of misgivings on the Central government’s contribution to the development of the State.

The BJP has four MLAs in Andhra Pradesh — Dr. Kamineni Srinivas (Kaikaluru), Mr. Manikyala Rao (Tadepalligudem), P. Vishnu Kumar Raju (Visakhapatnam North) and Akula Satyanarayana (Rajahmundry Urban).

( With inputs from V. Raghavendra in Vijayawada )

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