Asianet Newsable

TDP-BJP rift widens in Andhra over special status Bill

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The Bill has been moved to get the Modi government to fulfil the assurance given to Andhra Pradesh on granting the state special category status.

 

Congress will insist on voting on the Bill after the debate. In a rare instance, the Congress issued a whip to party Rajya Sabha members to be present in the House and vote in favour of the Bill. Normally, whips are not issued for private members' Bills.

 

TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, meanwhile, is holding talks with party MPs to take a final view on the bill.  An announcement is expected today or tomorrow. The general mood in the party is in favour of supporting the Bill. 

 

According to TDP Rajya Sabha MP CM Ramesh, the party may support the Bill as it deals with the interests of the state. "The Bill speaks about according special status to Andhra Pradesh. TDP is always governed by the interests of the state. The final decision is awaited," Ramesh told Asianet Newsable from New Delhi.

TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, meanwhile, is holding talks with party MPs to take a final view on the bill.  An announcement is expected today or tomorrow. The general mood in the party is in favour of supporting the Bill. 

 

Why is the TDP, a partner in the NDA government, eager to support a Congress move meant to embarrass NDA government? During his 2014 election campaign, PM Modi had assured the people of Andhra that the NDA government would grant special status to AP to overcome its post-bifurcation problems.

 

During the debate in Rajya Sabha on the Bifurcation Bill, both Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley promised that if voted to power, the NDA government would accord a 10-year special category status to AP. But after coming to power, they backed out on their assurance, Congress alleged.

 

Chandrababu Naidu's predicament is different. He expected special treatment for himself from Modi's government and liberal grants for the construction of his new capital Amaravati. That didn’t happen.

 

On the other hand, the Centre is worried that Naidu has been diverting central funds to programmes other than those intended. The Centre also has reservations about Amaravati-centric development.

 

Read more: BJP-TDP feud in Andhra reaching point of no return?

 

This has resulted in restricted fund flow to AP, upsetting Naidu's scheme of things at Amaravati. The state BJP is of the view that special status would benefit TDP more and  BJP won't strike roots in AP when TDP is stronger.

 

Peeved at the Centre's attitude, Naidu wants to send across a message to Modi that when state interests are at stake, he won't take things lying down.

 

In the meantime, KVP Ramachandrarao wrote letters to CM  Chandrababu Naidu and union minister Venkaiah Naidu seeking their support to his private members' Bill. In his letters, he asked them to mobilise the support of other NDA partners as well to the Bill. The Congress' plan is to launch its revival programme in the state based on the outcome of the Bill.

 

Recently, TDP extended support to Congress candidate Sucharita Reddy in Palair Assembly by-election in Telangana. Polling is scheduled on May 16.

 

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