VIJAYAWADA: TDP’s exit from the NDA appears imminent with party president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday hinting at a decision within a couple of days. Naidu, who held a three-hour meeting with party legislators at the Assembly Committee Hall, sought their opinion on the way forward after it became clear that the Union Finance Ministry had rejected the State’s demand for special category status and industrial incentives.
Barring about half a dozen, rest of the MLAs favoured break-up with the BJP but left the final decision to Naidu. Emerging from the meeting, Marketing Minister Adinarayana Rao told reporters that it was his personal opinion that the party should bid adieu to the NDA, but in the same breath, added cryptically, “We have set March 5 as a deadline for the Centre to respond to our demands. They have not responded positively. The decision that should have been taken in days should now be taken in hours.”
Information and Public Relations Minister K Srinivasulu said an appropriate decision will be taken at the appropriate time. Another senior leader told TNIE on condition of anonymity that Naidu had told them he would take a final call within two days. There is also speculation that Naidu might make an announcement in the Assembly on Wednesday. Sources said the CM received information about the Union Finance Ministry’s “caustic” remarks on the State’s demand for special status and industrial incentives while the meeting with MLAs was on. TDP insiders claim the Centre asked the State representatives “whether they would seek defence funds also since the country is not at war.”
The Chief Minister, referring to these alleged comments, observed, “Is there any comparison between coming to the rescue of a State and war? The Congress too had run a war room in 2014. I know what the people want. We will not compromise. We will take an appropriate decision at the right time... for good or ill.” During the lengthy meeting, Naidu directed the party leaders to visit every village and explain the good work done by the government and the party’s stand. He also denied taking a U-turn on special status to the State.
“It is not correct to say that am not insisting on special status. We accepted the special package only after the Centre assured us that it is as good as a special status. We have been patient with the Centre and joined the NDA only for the State’s benefit. Now, even if we continue to be patient, people are in no mood to be tolerant anymore,” he said.
Rahul backs AP’s demand for SCS
For the second consecutive day, both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted by TDP and YSR Congress MPs demanding special category status. TRS members too joined the protest. Congress president Rahul Gandhi participated in the protest organised by AP Congress at Jantar Mantar.
Interestingly, he is also reported to have said, “Special status is our right. Aren’t there states that developed without Central aid? Aren’t there parties that won without Central help? Aren’t there those who became CMs without Central help?”’. On certain statements by opposition parties, Naidu said he was not afraid.
“Indira Gandhi tried to frame cases against me and so did YSR. YSR filed 26 cases but failed to prove anything.”
The dramatic developments came a day after State Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu held talks with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Among the main demands of the State are: grant of `12,000 crores more to bridge revenue deficit for the year 2014-15, special status and was promised to AP in AP Reorganisation Act and industrial incentives, but the Centre rejected almost all of them.