BJP Ministers Quit from Naidu's Cabinet Amid Tussle With TDP Over Special Status
BJP ministers, K Srinivasa Rao and T Manikyala Rao, submitted their resignation to the speaker. Top government sources said that there is not much left to speak to Naidu.

Hyderabad: Two BJP ministers resigned from Andhra Pradesh cabinet on Thursday, a day after Telugu Desam Party’s chief Chandrababu Naidu decided to pull out his two ministers from the Union Cabinet.

BJP ministers, K Srinivasa Rao and T Manikyala Rao, submitted their resignation to the speaker.

Top government sources said that there is not much left to speak to Naidu. “Rajnath Singh is not planning to reach out to him anymore. Amit Shah will later decide on party level regarding BJP next step, but as far as government is concerned, TDP is on way out,” they said.

Meanwhile, demanding fulfilment of assurances including Special Category Status made in Rajya Sabha and provisions of AP Reorganisation Act, TDP MPs continued to protest outside Parliament.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday night decided to pull out Telugu Desam Party's two ministers from the Union Cabinet, but said that the party would remain in alliance with the BJP, for now.

The decision was taken at a meeting called by Naidu late in the evening, hours after finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the Centre can't offer special status, but would offer a special package with equivalent funding to the state.

Holding an emergency press briefing, Naidu said that Arun Jaitley’s statement was the last straw. “I laid out all the demands concerning special status for the state to the Centre, but the finance minister made it clear that he cannot give it. What is the purpose of joining the Cabinet when the Centre cannot resolve the state’s problems?” he asked.

“We have waited enough. We have believed in false promises enough. Our ministers are resigning from the Union Cabinet. We will do whatever it takes to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

Referring to Jaitley’s statement that the Centre had already given Rs 4,000 crore to the state, he said that the government is more interested in showing calculations than helping out. “You were part of bifurcation. Now comparing with other states is not right. It’s not right to say that sentiments will not get funds. It is like degrading our state,” he said.

But he clarified that only the resignations of two TDP MPs – civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and minister of state for science and technology YS Chowdary - will happen on Thursday and the decision on quitting the BJP alliance will be taken at a later date. “We have to see and plan what happens next from here. Telugu public is ready to fight and come out of this problem,” Naidu said.

He said that the decision to pull out the ministers was taken after consulting all the MPs and MLAs of the party. “The BJP has not fulfilled its promises. We have incurred big losses as a state. We never asked for bifurcation,” he said.

He further said that as a courtesy, he had called the PM’s office to inform him about the decision, but PM Modi did not come on line.

Sources in the BJP, however, said they were confident that this was a temporary setback and a compromise would be reached. On Jaitley’s failed outreach effort, they said that the finance minister only said what was constitutionally possible.

The development comes after months of uncertainty and strained ties between the two alliance partners. Earlier in the day, Naidu had hinted that he could sever ties and also used Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s offer of special status to the state if his party comes to power to hit out at the BJP.

“I have followed the federal spirit and worked on mutual co-operation principle with the Centre. People of the state now feel insulted and if I don't raise my voice now, they will not pardon me," he said.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said he had only gone into an alliance with the BJP for the sake of doing justice to AP. He had earlier said that he had made 29 trips to Delhi and met the Prime Minister and other central ministers but they did not pay heed. “Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in an unscientific manner and is facing lot of hurdles,” he said.

The protests had intensified after the Union Budget 2018 did not have any special funds for the state. Since then, the ties between the two allies have been strained and the party’s MPs have been protesting outside the Parliament every day during the Budget Session.