A survey among the TDP cadre reportedly found that 95 per cent want the alliance to called off. (File)
Hyderabad: The Telugu Desam Party's two ministers in the central government will resign today on Tuesday's late night orders of party chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Mr Naidu announced his decision to pull out of the central government hours after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out "special status" to Andhra Pradesh, saying it was "hurtful and insulting." In reciprocation, two BJP ministers in Mr Naidu's state government who said they will resign too submitted their resignations this morning. TDP lawmaker Ravindra Babu told NDTV that the next "logical step" is to exit the BJP-led national alliance NDA, but Chandrababu Naidu seemed to keep the door open, saying he would decide later on breaking ties.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
Mr Naidu, who had joined the NDA 46 months ago, did not explicitly talk about exiting the alliance but made his disappointment clear. "It was with a specific purpose that we joined the government.... When that purpose is not being fulfilled, there is no use continuing in the cabinet," he said.
TDP lawmaker Ravindra Babu, however, told NDTV that pulling out the ministers was the first step. The next "logical step" was to exit the alliance. The TDP chief, however, appeared to leave his option open. He said he would like to see how the centre reacts to his party's decision and "then plan further course of action".
The Chief Minister repeatedly referred to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's media conference earlier on Wednesday evening, sometimes to question him, and at others, to convey what he called was the centre's unwillingness to understand Andhra Pradesh's financial condition.
Mr Jaitley had insisted that the centre was compensating Andhra after bifurcation in 2004 for the amount a special status state gets. "Political issue cannot increase the funds... Sentiment does not increase the quantum of funds... We have to look at the country as a whole," Mr Jaitley added.
The TDP has been deeply upset since Mr Jaitley presented the Union Budget last month, complaining that it neglected Andhra Pradesh. The party faces extreme pressure in the state ahead of assembly elections and the national election next year, with opposition parties accusing Mr Naidu of failing Andhra Pradesh by not ensuring special status for it as a partner at the Centre. A survey among the TDP cadre showed that 95 per cent favour ending the partnership with the BJP, struck just ahead of the 2014 national election.
TDP lawmakers have continuously pressured the government ever since the union budget was presented, disrupting parliament by shouting slogans demanding that Andhra Pradesh be given central funding under special status.
Other parties have joined in. Apart from Andhra Pradesh's chief opposition party the YSR Congress, lawmakers from the Congress and Trinamool Congress too protested in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We will give special category status to Andhra Pradesh. It's the first thing we will do after coming to power in 2019," Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday, also urging opposition parties to unite to "force the BJP government to do justice to the people of Andhra."
Addressing the state assembly on Wednesday, Chandrababu Naidu made an emotional appeal. "Why won't you give us special status, it is our right, respect people's feeling," he said, adding that the "onus is on the Centre to clarify its position. We are not angry, we are asking for our rights." He said he had visited Delhi 29 times over the demand.
Talking to TDP lawmakers via teleconference this morning, Mr Naidu lashed out at the Centre saying it was "insulting the sentiments" of the people of the state by not honouring the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and also in Parliament when the state was bifurcated to carve out a separate Telangana state. He said there would be "no compromise in protecting the state's interests. Let us bear whatever difficulty, but we will take a right decision at the right time."