Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had said last week that the TDP was only keeping quiet due to “coalition dharma” and the party would be happy to “chart its own course” if the BJP wasn't keen on continuing with the alliance.
Upset with the Budget 2018 presented on Thursday in parliament, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has said that it is considering the option of breaking ranks with its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party. TDP, the saffron party’s biggest partner in the south led by Chandrababu Naidu, has come down heavily on the central government for failing to meet the needs of Andhra Pradesh. The party was hoping that the BJP government would address issues like funds for the Polavaram project and capital Amravati.
Addressing reporters outside parliament on Friday, party MP TG Venkatesh said that neglecting Andhra Pradesh will result in an open war with the ruling establishment at the Centre. The leader said TDP had three options before it: “One is to try and continue (with the alliance), second is that our MPs resign and third is breaking of the alliance.” Venkatesh said that the party would take a final call on this in its meeting with the Chief Minister on Sunday.
Ties between the TDP and BJP have been on a downward slope in the four years since Naidu took charge as Andhra Pradesh CM. The party has, in the past, been very critical of the BJP and even threatened to work with rival YSR Congress of Jagan Mohan Reddy. Notably, the YSR Congress leader had hinted last week that he would be willing to work with the BJP if Andhra Pradesh is accorded a special category status.
The TDP has also been demanding a special category status for Andhra Pradesh since the creation of Telangana after its bifurcation in 2014. However, the Centre hasn’t paid heed to its NDA ally’s demands thus far. Signalling a clear rift within the ruling NDA, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu told reporters last week that the TDP was only keeping quiet due to “coalition dharma” and the party would be happy to “chart its own course” if the BJP wasn’t keen on continuing with the alliance.
The TDP is the first party from within the NDA ranks to have openly expressed dissatisfaction over the Budget. The Opposition, meanwhile, has slammed the government for ignoring the middle class and also for its promises on doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Former PM Manmohan Singh has termed the promise of doubling farmers’ income as a “hollow assurance”.