Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu will lead a delegation of his party MPs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi sometime this month, to seek rectification of the “injustice” done to the state in the Union Budget. This is part of a staggered agitation Naidu intends to launch and it may culminate in pulling out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA at the Centre a few months later, if things go wrong.
This strategy would be announced after a meeting of TDP Parliamentary Party at the CM’s official residence at Amaravati on Sunday. Naidu, who chaired a Cabinet meeting on Friday, told his ministerial colleagues that he was not afraid of quitting NDA, if necessary, but there was time for that. Three ministers who spoke at the meeting favoured quitting NDA in the interests of TDP.
However, Naidu is learnt to have cautioned them against speaking out rashly at this stage. “We will spell out a staggered strategy at our MPs’ meeting tomorrow and, if possible, meet the PM to submit a representation on our demands,” the CM is believed to have said, according to a minister who spoke to The Sunday Guardian on Saturday.
Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Education Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao and Agriculture Minister S. Chandramohan Reddy are learnt to have highlighted the “unfair treatment” AP was meted out in the budget. “When cities like Bangalore and Ahmadabad were given metro projects but not Amaravati or even Visakhapatnam,” Srinivasa Rao said, evoking support from the CM. Naidu told his ministers that first, he would like to meet the PM and then wait for some measures from the Centre before the budget session concludes by the next month end. He urged the ministers to refrain from issuing any political threats against the BJP as it would affect securing funds from the Centre for the ongoing Polavaram project, completion of which is politically important to his government.
TDP Rajya Sabha member T.G. Venkatesh, who arrived in Hyderabad, told the media on Saturday that the CM had a three-phase plan to deal with the BJP. “First, he would meet the PM; if nothing comes out it, then the party would think of withdrawing its two Union ministers and remove two BJP ministers from the state and snapping ties with the saffron party would be considered at the last stage,” Venkatesh said.
Another MP, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao again attacked the BJP government, saying that there was no value to MPs in the present government. “We are ready to quit our posts to mount pressure on the Centre and I am ready to resign first,” he said. However, there are others in TDP like Union minister Sujana Chowdary and RS MP C.M. Ramesh who are of the view that TDP should not leave NDA and go with BJP in 2019.