New Delhi: YSR Congress chief has stepped up his attack on Chandrababu Naidu over the special status issue after the Andhra CM decided to pull out TDP’s two ministers from the Union Cabinet.
“Why did Chandrababu Naidu welcome and celebrate the very same statement by Arun Jaitley in 2016 and why he is making an issue now? It was because of the public opinion built by YSR Congress and Left parties through intensive campaign in favour of special status,” he said.
Jagan asked why Naidu is still in the NDA if he is so upset. “Naidu doesn’t want to come out of NDA, (come what may) as he fears “witch hunting” against him and his core team,” the YSR Congress chief said.
In the game of one-upmanship with the YSR Congress, the TDP is pre-empting any move by Jagan Mohan Reddy who has announced resignation of his Lok Sabha MPs if the demand for the special category status for Andhra is not met.
The TDP’s decision to pull out its ministers from the Union government 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.
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.