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TDP pulls ministers from Modi’s government
BY RESMI SIVARAM March 09, 2018
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday evening after Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) quit the union cabinet. The TDP, however, continues with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

The 10-minute conversation was friendly, BJP and TDP leaders in the national capital said. However, it did not seem to have yielded positive results. Naidu formally conveyed his party’s decision to quit the Central government as its demand for “special status” for his state has not received a positive response.

TDP’s Civil Aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Union minister of Science and Technology YS Chowdary resigned in the morning, after Naidu lashed out at the Centre in a media interaction on Wednesday night.

The BJP’s two ministers in Naidu’s cabinet, Srinivasa Rao and T Manikyala Rao, also resigned on Thursday morning. They had orders from party chief Amit Shah after Naidu held his media conference on Wednesday night.

The decision to quit came after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out “special status” to Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. Naidu told the media that he could not reach Modi though he put a call. “My OSD spoke to his OSD but the prime minister did not come on line,” he said.

“I went to Delhi 29 times, met the PM and Central ministers and requested them to fulfil our demands,” Naidu said. “For me the sole agenda is to safeguard the interests of the state. That is why we joined the union cabinet. If that purpose has not been served, there is no point in continuing.” TDP leaders in Delhi said the party had decided that the “divorce” should be a step-by-step process. It expects a positive response after pulling out the ministers. If it doesn’t work, the TDP will consider quitting the ruling NDA coalition.

Jaitley had claimed that the TDP is wrong in alleging that the Centre has neglected Andhra. He said the Centre not only fulfilled all its obligations, but also went out of its way to help the state.

Touching on Jaitley’s statement that the Centre had already given Rs40 billion to the state and that sentiments cannot get funds, Naidu said: “It’s not right to say that sentiments will not get funds. It is like degrading our state.”

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