Narendra Modi’s call fails to pacify Chandrababu Naidu


Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to pacify the Telugu Desam (TD) failed with two TD ministers, P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Y.S. Chowdary, on Thursday resigning from the Central government, a day after TD supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu indicated that his party was considering quitting the BJP-led NDA government. Two hours after Mr Modi spoke to Mr Naidu on the telephone on Thursday, TD MPs submitted their resignations to the Prime Minister. Mr Modi had called Mr Naidu at 4.30 pm, after he returned to Delhi from Rajasthan.

According to sources, the conversation lasted 15 minutes. Mr Naidu is said to have told the Prime Minister that he had tried to contact him the previous night to let him know that the ministers would resign but Mr Modi was unavailable. The PM is said to have replied that, “When I was not available you should have waited for some more time,” to which Mr Naidu said, “No sir, this is the party’s decision. We cannot go back.” When the Prime Minister suggested, “We can sit and discuss and sort out the issues,” Mr Naidu replied that “this is a sentimental issue. If the Centre wants, it can give special status to AP now. Without this we cannot withdraw the decision on resignations of TD ministers. Our MPs (ministers) will meet you and submit their resignations.”

Accordingly, at about 6.30 pm both Mr Raju and Mr Chowdary went to the Prime Minister’s residence in private vehicles and submitted their resignations. Speaking to the media afterwards, they said they had submitted their resignations on the directions of the party high command.  Mr Chowdary said that Mr Modi assured them that he will extend all support to AP. He said that they are continuing in the National Democratic Alliance and will continue their fight on AP issues till they get justice. In his resignation, Mr Chowdary stated that, “with due respect to the prevailing public sentiment in my constituency as well as the circumst-ances that led to that situation (not offering special status) and in adherence to the decision taken by my party president, I am hereby tendering my resignation.”

Mr Raju merely wrote that “I hereby tender my resignation from the Union Council of Ministers with immediate effect.” Mr Chowdary, who later addressed the media along with Mr Raju, also blamed the UPA for preparing the “most unscientific Bill (AP reorganisation Act, 2014)” and said everyone knows how the Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament in the din. To a query on whether the party was with the NDA, he said, “We will continue to be a part of the NDA but not take up any ministerial positions. I don’t think there is anything wrong in that.” He also said that, “We will be happy when marriages happen, not when divorces happen. It is not a good move, but unfortunately due to unavoidable circumstances we had to take this move. We are stepping down as ministers, but our president has said we will be continuing as part of NDA.”