In a visible setback to the Centre’s Narendra Modi government, BJP’s key ally in the South, Telugu Desam Party, appears to have decided to part ways with the NDA after its demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh was not granted.
The party, which had threatened to quit the NDA fold last month, has reportedly made up its mind to pull out of the government if the Centre did not accede to its demand by 10 March. Its two ministers in the Modi cabinet, YS Chowdary and Ashok Gajapati Raju, are expected to resign by Saturday. The Modi government has already made its stand clear against the ‘special status’ demand for Andhra.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the TDP-BJP combine had fought the elections together under the NDA banner and won 19 out of 42 seats. The number of Lok Sabha seats won by the BJP in the state was three.
In the internal party survey of the TDP, an overwhelming 95 percent of them had favoured the idea of quitting the NDA. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is expected to make a formal announcement in the state assembly today.
Meanwhile, the TDP MPs protested inside the Lok Sabha for the third day in a row on Wednesday leading to the proceedings being adjourned. The party, in February, had warned that it will declare a war after expressing its displeasure over Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi too had thrown his weight behind the TDP’s demands for a special status for Andhra Pradesh.
If TDP indeed formally quits the NDA, it will become the second big regional party after Shiv Sena to sever ties with the BJP.