The Telugu Desam Party is elated over the “positive response” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to its demand for granting special status to Andhra Pradesh, an issue that has become politically sensitive in the state since last year. The PM, who attended an all-party meeting held in Delhi on Wednesday, told TDP leaders that he was open to the proposal to grant special status to AP.
When TDP MPs led by Union ministers P. Ashok Gajapathi Raji and Y.S. Chowdary raised the issue at the meeting, the PM assured them that he would take a decision on it once the NITI Aayog submitted its report on the supportive measures needed to boost the nascent economy of AP after the bifurcation of the combined state last year. The NITI Aayog is expected to submit the report in December.
When the TDP proposed raising this issue in Parliament during the ongoing winter session, the PM advised them not to and wait for the NITI Aayog report. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who belongs to AP, too, told the TDP MPs to wait for the PM’s decision.
Another major reason for happiness in the TDP circles is the assurance given by the PM that there would be regular coordination meetings among the NDA allies every two months.
“We are happy that for the first time we got positive hints from the PM on the special status issue and this is a development,” N. Sivaprasad, TDP MP from Chittoor told this newspaper. The special status issue has become a major irritant in the relations between BJP and TDP over time, he said.
Another major reason for happiness in the TDP circles is the assurance given by the PM that there would be regular coordination meetings among the NDA allies every two months to thrash out all pending issues. When Chowdary raised the matter saying that presently there was no mechanism to discuss pending issues pertaining to the state, the PM agreed to hold NDA meetings. Following the Bihar Assembly elections, the BJP leadership seems to have turned “friendlier” towards its allies in the NDA, according to the assessment of TDP senior leaders in Andhra Pradesh. The TDP has two ministers in the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, while its government led by Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh has two BJP ministers.
“Andhra Pradesh is a cash deficit state since the bifurcation of the combined state last year and there are several issues regarding our financial stability. Our ministers and officials are forced to visit Delhi frequently with representations. Instead, the regular NDA coordination meetings would help us solve our problems,” said Srikakulam MP K Ramamohan Naidu.