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Tactical promises

17 Mar. 2018 11:59 PM IST

A lot of discussions, debates and write ups continue in the electronic and print media after TDP supremo and chief minister of Andhra Pradesh N.Chandrababu Naidu made good his threat by pulling out from the NDA. The TDP has 16 seats in the Lok Sabha and had two union ministers who earlier resigned before the party pulled out of the NDA. In the Rajya Sabha the TDP has 6 members. These numbers are crucial for the BJP especially in the upper house where the opposition combine has majority. Chandrababu’s move was shaped not only because Modi had not kept his promise of giving special category state status to Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation but also because arch rival Jaganmohan Reddy and founder of YSR Congress has been stealing a march with his yatra for special category status for Andhra Pradesh which was also followed up with tabling of a no confidence motion against the Modi government at the Centre. Initially the TDP backed the no confidence filed by YSR but later withdrew since it could prove politically damaging in Andhra. The YSR Congress no confidence is yet to be taken up. The TDP then moved its no confidence motion on Friday. Though the no-confidence motion does not mean anything for the ruling BJP led coalition as it enjoys a comfortable majority in Lok Sabha, the politics surrounding it would certainly have political implications in Andhra Pradesh. The motion will be the first such move in the tenure of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. Political observers read much in the snapping of ties between the two parties which had maintained stable relations since 1996. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, N Chandrababu Naidu, is a serious political ally not given to tantrums associated with some among his peers in other states. From 1996 to 2004, he virtually ran the show in Delhi – first as the convener of the United Front and thereafter as the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s life support from outside. At the heart of the BJP-TDP alliance of mistrust is an uneasy relationship between Narendra Modi and Naidu. It all began in 2002, soon after the riots in Gujarat when Modi and Naidu were chief ministers. Naidu, despite being a key member of the NDA, publicly took an anti-Modi position. In addition, the TDP even held out a veiled threat to the Vajpayee government, pointing out that “secularism is a fundamental principle for the TDP and strict adherence to it is one of the basic conditions for our support to the NDA”. During the four years, Modi did not accord special category status though his government gave around Rs.4000 crore under various projects. This was a pittance which TDP could not build its new capital as well as create infrastructures lost to the new state of Telangana. The other factor was the departure of BJP veteran Venkaiah Naidu as vice president of India. Venkaiah was Chandrababu’s go-to man in New Delhi and his clout in the corridors of power dipped after the former’s exit. The TDP and YSR Congress will go to extra lengths to prove themselves to their voters over the issue of special category status. It may not be wrong to assume that since TDP is not with BJP, the YSR Congress will not mind jumping into the NDA with some packages. Therefore, the question of TDP’s exit strengthening the anti-BJP forces does not hold water.

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