Andhra special status row: Two BJP ministers quit N Chandrababu Naidu cabinet

BJP ministers Srinivas Rao and Manikyala Rao met the Chief Minister in his chamber in the Assembly and handed the letters of resignation to him.

Andhra special status row: Two BJP ministers quit N Chandrababu Naidu cabinet
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Amaravati: BJP ministers Kamineni Srinivas Rao and P Manikyala Rao tendered their resignations to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday.

Medical and Health Minister Srinivas Rao and Endowments Minister Manikyala Rao met the Chief Minister in his chamber in the Assembly and handed the letters of resignation to him.

They thanked Naidu for the opportunity and the Chief Minister also appreciated their efficient working.

Later, Srinivas Rao said: "I had the privilege of working with him for more than three-and-a-half years. I recently asked him about his opinion on my work. He gave me the certificate that I have no enemies," he said.

Manikyala Rao said he learned to operate a computer because of Naidu's stress on the use of technology in the administration. 

"Earlier, I knew only making and receiving calls. I was never used to texting. Now, I operate a computer because of Naidu's thrust on the use of technology...," he said.

The resignation came ahead of the presentation of the budget for 2018-19 in the Assembly by Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu, a party official said.

Both BJP ministers had stayed away from the cabinet meeting here that was convened to formally approve the budget.

Today's development comes after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Wednesday announced its decision to pull out of the Narendra Modi government in protest against refusal of the Centre to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh, saying the Centre has done injustice to the state.

Naidu announced to the media that two TDP ministers - P Ashok Gajapathi Raju (Civil Aviation) and YS Chowdary (Minister of State for Science and Technology) - will tender their resignations later today.

Addressing a press briefing, Naidu alleged that the Centre has done a huge injustice to the state.

The TDP is the second-largest party after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). 

In the Lok Sabha, the TDP has 16 members and six in the Rajya Sabha. 

It is the first pre-poll partner of the BJP to pull out of the Modi government after being part of it for nearly four years. 

His announcement came hours after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi told the media that granting of special status to Andhra Pradesh was not possible after the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. 

Jaitley did not make any new commitment except for reiterating that the Centre had extended all possible help to the bifurcated state.

Granting special category status was a promise made by the previous UPA government at the time of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana, which all the parties in the state are seeking now. 

Naidu said a decision on TDP's continuation in the NDA would be decided after talking party-to-party (BJP and TDP). "This (quitting the cabinet) is the first step," he said.

"They (the Centre) are predetermined not to help the state. In the interest of our state, we have taken the decision," he said. I tried to inform the PM for courtesy's sake. But, he did not come online. My OSD informed the PM's OSD."