Today’s unanticipated statements by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Chief N Chandrababu Naidu seem to have hit the last nail on the coffin with regard to the alliance between the two parties. The TDP Chief has been clear in stating that they are ready to go it alone if BJP is not interested.
It all started with the recent visit of Chandrababu to New Delhi, wherein he met Prime Minister Narender Modi. As usual, the CM took with him a long wish list and placed it before the PM, which includes the Special Status to Andhra Pradesh. What transpired between them only they could tell, but Chandrababu was definitely unhappy with the meeting.
The meeting between the two leaders was significant since the rift between TDP and BJP seems perceptible. Moreover, Chandrababu met the PM after a hiatus of a year-and-a-half. During the meeting he presented a slew of demands: He sought immediate sanction of Rs 58,000 crores required for the Polavaram project; sufficient funds allocated in the central budget for development of the new state capital Amaravati; an increase in the number of seats in the state Assembly from 175 to 225 as committed in the Reorganisation Act; the disbursement of Rs 20,010 crores from the Centre in the form of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) under the special package; among many things.
After his meeting with PM Modi, Chandrababu in a press conference clearly spelt out his views. “The PM was very clear. He said he would sort out all the issues. Let’s see. It is all hope and trust in this world. We have to keep pursuing,” he clarified. The very meaning of this statement was that all was not well in the relationship. The PM might have clearly said that many of these might not happen at the moment. This partly explains why Chandrababu turned philosophical.
Simultaneously, the rift between BJP-TDP was getting open and wider by the day in AP. The cadre from both the parties seem to be increasingly intolerant of each other. Moreover, the long gap between CM-PM meeting had also led to speculation that both were not on good terms.
But today it is clear that they have reached the breaking point and Chief Minister himself was vociferous about continuing alliance. “If the BJP doesn’t want to forge alliance with the TDP, we’re ready to break the friendship and go alone in the polls,” he spilled out the beans.
All these are aimed at 2019 elections, with the TDP government not having done much for the people and also with regard to the announced projects as well as development of the state capital, it was trying to put the blame on BJP. The government failed to get Special Status for the state, they were unable to get promised special economic assistance also.
On the other hand, BJP has made inroads into AP and is confident that it can sail without the help of TDP in this state. The state leaders of the party have been directly attacking Chandrababu and alleged that he was just name changing the central government schemes and claiming that the state was providing all the welfare to the people.
With the political battle out in the open, it looks like it would be difficult for both the parties to continue together. The final call would be taken by BJP National leaders, who have already been appraised about the situation by state leaders.