Andhra row: Chandrababu Naidu directs 2 TDP ministers to resign from union cabinet

Two union ministers from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will resign from their posts on Thursday, Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP national president N Chandrababu Naidu told reporters today.

He, however, added that no decision had been taken yet on whether the party would quit the NDA.

The decision comes as a protest by the party against the Centre’s decision to not award special status to Andhra Pradesh. Naidu said that he had even tried to call Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inform him about the decision but said the latter did not come on the line.

The Andhra CM also said that the purpose of his party joining the union cabinet was to obtain justice for his state, but since that has not been fulfilled, there was no point of his party’s ministers continuing at the Centre.

At the time of the 2014 general elections, the BJP had promised to award special status to Andhra Pradesh in light of the state’s financial troubles. Andhra Pradesh has been suffering financially after Telengana was carved out of the state.

At a press conference today, Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that giving special status to Andhra Pradesh was impossible now. He said such a category did exist when the state was split in 2014 but since the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendation, such a treatment is now constitutionally restricted to just the North Eastern states and three other hill states.

For special category status category states, the Centre meets 90 percent of the funds required in a centrally sponsored scheme as against 60 percent in case of normal category states. The remaining funds are provided by the state governments.

For Andhra Pradesh, the Centre committed to giving 90 percent of the funds, equivalent to special category states, through other means like external agencies, Jaitley said, adding that the Union government was even willing to accept the state government’s suggestion of routing such funds through NABARD.

(With inputs from PTI)