Naidu threatens to pull out of NDA over ‘Special Status row’

Hyderabad: Seething over the Centre’s stand on special status to Andhra Pradesh, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has summoned party MPs for an emergency meeting here tomorrow to decide whether or not to continue in the NDA government.

Amid the standoff between the centre and its key ally, at least two MPs of Telugu Desam Party today indicated that they were ready to resign (as Members of Parliament) to safeguard the interests of the state.

“We will decide our future course of action at the emergency meeting with Chandrababu tomorrow. We are ready for sacrifices,” Rajamahendravaram MP M Muralimohan said in Eluru. Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas also echoed similar feelings.

Terming the centre’s stand as “escapist”, Mr Naidu did not hide his displeasure at the centre after finance minister Arun Jaitley replied to a discussion on the issue in the Rajya Sabha last evening.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, after a teleconference with his MPs, had reportedly given them an earful for not stalling the House when Mr Jaitley made “hollow claims” about helping the state.

At a late night press conference yesterday, he also mounted a scathing attack on Mr Jaitley over the latter’s claim that the state had been provided sufficient funds.

“In what way is the special status linked to the 14th Finance Commission grants? Have you given anything special to AP? It is not correct for Jaitley to say they have given us so many funds. Even the revenue deficit has not been bridged despite clear provision in the AP Reorganisation Act,” Mr Naidu said.

“He (Jaitley) says injustice has been done to AP. What is that they have done to undo this injustice,” the Chief Minister questioned.

Mr Naidu, however, remained evasive when asked if he would now exercise the “two options” he had reportedly given to Mr Jaitley during a meeting a few months ago.

“I have two options. One, to get out of the coalition. Two, to see how long we can survive (on our own)”, he had reportedly told Mr Jaitley.

The TDP chief, however, said during his press meet last night that his party was continuing in the Modi government only to protect the interests of the state.

“We are taking every step cautiously. But injustice is being done to AP, so we will see what is the best option (for us),” he added.

Responding to a discussion on the ‘Status of implementation of the Reorganisation Act, Jaitley had assured the House that the Centre was committed to keeping all its promises and will fulfill all its responsibilities as far as Andhra Pradesh was concerned.

However, Mr Jaitley’s assurance has failed to pacify TDP, a key partner of the NDA with 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha and two ministers in the Modi government.

-Siasat News