BJP ministers pull out in Andhra, TDP ministers quit at centre

The split between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Telugu Desam Party became final today, with the two Bharatiya Janata Party ministers in the Andhra Pradesh assembly resigning and the two TDP ministers in the Union government following suit.

 
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu  

After TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced his party's decision to walk out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Tuesday, BJP ministers Kamineni Srinivas Rao and P Manikyala Rao tendered their resignations to the chief minister today.

Shortly after, Naidu said that the two TDP leaders who are in the Narendra Modi cabinet – civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and minister of state for science and technology Y S Chowdhary - have submitted their resignations.

The two union ministers have "worked nicely for the welfare of state", Naidu said.

Naidu is yet to comment on whether his party will pull out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance completely. The TDP has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha and is the NDA's third-largest constituent.

In Andhra Pradesh, medical and health minister Srinivas Rao and endowments minister Manikyala Rao met the chief minister in his chamber in the Assembly in Amaravati and handed the letters of resignation to him.

They thanked Naidu for the opportunity given to them and the chief minister also appreciated their efficient working.

Later, Srinivas Rao said, "I had the privilege of working with him for more than three and a half years. I recently asked him about his opinion on my work. He gave me the certificate that I have no enemies," he said.

Manikyala Rao said he had learned to operate a computer because of Naidu's stress on the use of technology in the administration.

"Earlier, I knew only making and receiving calls. I was never used to texting. Now, I operate computer because of Naidu's thrust on the use of technology," he said.

The resignation came ahead of the presentation of the budget for 2018-19 in the state assembly by finance minister Y Ramakrishnudu.

Both BJP ministers had stayed away from the cabinet meeting that was convened to formally approve the budget.

The TDP on Wednesday announced its decision to pull out of the Narendra Modi government in protest against refusal of the Centre to grant Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh.

While the two parties have decided to snap ties, there was interesting bonhomie on display when the BJP ministers reached Chief Minister's Office to submit their resignations. The TDP ministers hugged the quitting BJP ministers and also posed for the cameras.

Earlier, the BJP and TDP traded charges over the latter's demand for special category status for Andhra Pradesh that the Centre rejected citing limitations set by the 14th Finance Commission recommendation.

The BJP rejected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's charge that the Narendra Modi government neglected the state, saying the Centre not only fulfilled all its obligations but also had gone out of its way to help the state.

BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said the Modi dispensation worked to ensure that Andhra Pradesh got full resources in infrastructure and industrial sector after the bifurcation of the state.

His remarks came soon after Naidu, in a late night press conference, announced that his party's two central ministers would resign from the government.

Naidu's move is being seen as an attempt to project the TDP as a champion of Andhra Pradesh's interests as he is facing a lot of heat from the opposition YSR Congress ahead of the Assembly election next year.