Both Telugu Desam Party, the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, and its nearest rival in the state, YSR Congress are trying to outdo each other in Parliament for the past one week, while championing the interests of AP. Proceedings in the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha were disrupted for an entire week, as the two parties attacked the BJP government at the Centre and accused it of compromising with the state’s interests.
As TDP MPs had threatened to disrupt the proceedings till the last hour, the Lok Sabha was adjourned on Friday noon till 5 March. Andhra CM and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu told his MPs on Friday that he would not hesitate to pull out of the NDA government if the Centre fails to address his concerns by March end, when the Budget session ends.
The TDP chief has been forced into a situation where he had to quit the NDA to protect the interests of AP which has been facing severe financial crisis due to revenue deficit. Naidu is unable to get enough funds from the Centre to meet his ambitious schemes like Amaravati capital city and Polavaram irrigation project.
TDP MP Galla Jayadev delivered a stern message to the BJP leadership that his party would quit the NDA if the Finance Minister failed to spell out a roadmap to fulfill the promises made to AP at the time of division of the state four years ago.
Jayadev’s speech, which sent ripples across the BJP leadership and the political circles in AP, was approved by Naidu himself. Although Naidu on Thursday left for Dubai, he has been approving his MPs’ speeches and protests. Jayadev told The Sunday Guardian that his speech was his party’s official line.
The quickly changing ground situation in AP has baffled the BJP leadership. Home Minister Rajanth Singh spoke to CM Naidu twice on Monday and Wednesday while party president Amit Shah spoke to minister of state for science and technology Sujana Chowdary of TDP twice this week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke once and FM Arun Jaitley spoke twice on the AP issues.
Jaitley told some TDP MPs that he was unable to understand why they were protesting so much when the Centre has done enough for AP. “We have been consistently helping the state with enough funds in the last three years and will give more this year too,” he told a group of MPs including minister Chowdary.
But TDP leadership is adamant on calling off their stir in Parliament. “The BJP leadership is taking us lightly and not believing that we will withdraw from the NDA government. But very soon we will carry out our threat in case nothing substantial is announced for the state,” said TDP MP CM Ramesh.
Ramesh, a close confidant of CM Naidu, was suspended twice from RS when he defied the Chair by protesting in the Well of the House.
MoS Chowdary picked an argument with Jaitley in the LS lobbies after the House was adjourned on Thursday and the details were highlighted in the social media. The daily protests by MPs of TDP and YSR Congress were promptly highlighted in the social media by the digital media wings of the respective parties.
The situation suggests that the TDP and the YSR Congress are trying to outdo each other. Both the parties are accusing each other of being hand in glove with the BJP and neglecting the interests of AP. YSR Congress MP Vijayasai Reddy called on Rajnath Singh and President Ram Nath Kovind this week to apprise them of the AP situation.
Peeved over Vijayasai Reddy’s meeting with BJP leaders, TDP MPs have come close to Congress in the Parliament. TDP’s Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) on Thursday went to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in the House and sought her support to the cause of AP.
When the MP explained this to CM Naidu, the latter appreciated his move and felt that there was nothing wrong in taking Congress’ help.
The near total success of the state wide bandh in AP on Thursday, called by the CPM led Left parties and Congress, was a trigger for the aggressive posturing by the TDP and YSR Congress in Parliament.
Spontaneous response from different sections of public to the bandh call indicated the restiveness among them over the lack of progress in any major project after the AP division in 2014. “We hope the PM takes some initiative and solve the problems, otherwise, we will be compelled to submit resignations of our two ministers from the NDA,” TDP MP N. Kistappa told this newspaper.