New Delhi: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is so upset with the Union Budget 2018 that one of its senior Members of Parliament even declared “war” on its alliance partner BJP. This comes after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu had criticised the budget in terse terms.
“We are going to declare war (on the BJP). We now have three options. One is to try and continue. The second is that our MPs resign and the third is breaking off this alliance. We will decide (our course of action) in a meeting with CM Naidu on Sunday,” TG Venkatesh, TDP MP, said outside Parliament on Friday.
Signs of trouble started appearing for the BJP-TDP alliance even before the Budget was presented by Arun Jaitley on Thursday. Before Naidu left for the World Economic Forum (WEF), sources in the party said the CM was unhappy with the BJP because even after taking “42 trips to Delhi”, special status for Andhra Pradesh was not being granted.
On his return from Davos, the CM himself lashed out at the BJP and said he was upset with the behavior of some local party leaders.
“I have controlled my partymen. I always tell them not to talk against them (BJP). If a party is in alliance, then one should not talk against each other. It’s not right. But some state BJP leaders are making several comments. The high command should take note or react. But if we are not needed, I fold my hands and we will go our way,” Naidu said.
This had opened up the faultlines in the alliance that came out in the open after the Budget, which Naidu claimed had snubbed Andhra Pradesh. “We are disappointed with the Union Budget. Many pressing state issues such as Railway Zone, Polavaram project funding, financial assistance for new capital Amaravati and other pending issues of Andhra Pradesh were not addressed,” said YS Chowdhary, Telugu Desam’s Parliamentary Party Leader and Union Minister of State for Science and Technology in the BJP-led central government.
Shri Srinivasa Rao, MP from Anakapalli, said, “Railway Zone for Visakhapatnam is a two decades’ long demand and a sentimental issue for the people of Andhra Pradesh. The Centre hasn’t announced it yet. Also, the Centre released very meagre funds for the educational institutions being set up in AP. Our people feel neglected today.”
If the alliance were to break, this will neither affect the central government, nor the TDP government in the state. The TDP and the BJP are not dependent on each other to keep their respective governments afloat. However, it will lead to a change in political equations ahead of the 2019 state assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Already Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former Congress leader and Andhra CM YSR Reddy, has indicated that his YSR Congress may be open to an alliance with the BJP. “If the BJP is ready to grant us special status, we will go with them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi can do that in a minute. It is his prerogative,” he said.