In a teleconference on Wednesday evening from Dubai, where he is meeting various corporate heads, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu instructed lawmakers from his Telugu Desam Party to continue protests in parliament and keep pressuring the government to make a substantive announcement for his state.
“We need to fear no one,” Mr Naidu reportedly told his party leaders.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned this morning, soon after it convened, amid sloganeering by TDP members.
Lawmakers from Andhra Pradesh’s chief opposition party the YSR Congress joined the TDP in the protests, demanding special status for the state. Being placed in the special category will mean Andhra Pradesh will get central funds.
The TDP is an ally of the ruling BJP in the national alliance NDA that it leads and participates in the central government. Since last week, the Andhra Pradesh party has been cut-up, alleging that the state has been neglected in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
After intense discussions within the party, Chandrababu Naidu decided to not severe ties with the BJP, but put his partner on notice saying a big announcement for Andhra Pradesh must be made in the ongoing Budget session.
His party’s lawmakers have been instructed to issue daily reminders by disrupting parliament proceedings. In his teleconference yesterday, Mr Naidu told the lawmakers and other party leaders that the protests must continue till Arun Jaitley replies in Parliament to the debate on the Budget.He, however, instructed leaders and officials to ensure that the public and other states are not inconvenienced by a bandh or shutdown called today by opposition parties to demand special status for Andhra Pradesh. The TDP is supporting the bandh call.
The BJP’s top leaders have reached out to the TDP, with union home minister Rajnath Singh holding multiple rounds of talks with the party.
Last week, union minister Rajnath Singh had dialled Mr Naidu. It is not known what the two leaders discussed.
However, the BJP state leaders appear unhappy with the developments. Senior party leader Somu Veerraju said, “The TDP leaders are indulging in trade rather than talking for the people.”