NEW DELHI: The two Union ministers of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening. The meeting comes after a day of attempts at a rapprochement between the TDP, which announced that it would pull out of the Union Cabinet, but would remain in the NDA, over its demand for special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
The two TDP ministers - Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary - would resign on Thursday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu had announced in a press conference late on Wednesday night.
— Andhra Pradesh CM (@AndhraPradeshCM) March 7, 2018
TDP sources said Naidu had explained to PM Modi the reasons for the pull-out, news agency ANI reported. This exchange happened after Naidu complained that he had reached out to Modi to let him know of the TDP's decision, but PM had been unavailable.
I tried reaching out to the Prime Minister to inform him about our decision. But sadly, he was unavailable.
— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) March 7, 2018
Naidu had also complained that he had made 29 trips to New Delhi in a bid to get special status for his state without success.
As a response to the TDP's announcement, two BJP ministers in Andhra Pradesh resigned from Naidu's cabinet.
The TDP-BJP relationship has been under strain for a while now over the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh. The status would have meant a greater degree of financial support from the Centre to the state government. The TDP had reasoned that the people of his state had been against the bifurcation of undivided Andhra radish, and the new state is suffering financially as a result of the split.
However, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said on Wednesday that the Centre is unable to give the special status to Andhra Pradesh as such a categorisation has been done away with under the 14th Finance Commission. Instead, he said, the Centre would ensure Andhra Pradesh get just as much funds as it would have received as a result of the special status.
Jaitley had also said granting any sort of a special categorisation to Andhra Pradesh would lead to a spate of similar demands from other states.