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Posted at: Mar 9, 2018, 1:45 AM; last updated: Mar 9, 2018, 11:51 AM (IST)SPECIAL STATUS

TDP ministers quit Modi Cabinet

PM, Naidu fail to break ice; party with NDA for now

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8

A day after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s dramatic late-night announcement, TDP ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet — Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary — today tendered their resignations citing “unavoidable circumstances”.

The party will, however, continue to be a part of the BJP-led NDA, the two said after submitting their resignations to Modi, who earlier spoke to Naidu in an apparent bid to convince him to reconsider his decision.

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TDP leaders, who said they were acting as per the “party’s directions”, reiterated their demands, including a “special status” for the state. Chowdary recounted meeting  the PM, saying: “I do not think it is fair on our part to expect the PM to deal with these issues. It is for the ministries concerned to take up… already considerable amount of time has lapsed.”

The PM called the resignations “unfortunate”, he said.

“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 continue to be a part of NDA,” Chowdary added.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders, while dismissing allegations of taking allies “for granted”, claim “they saw it coming. The TDP demands were unreasonable and the BJP is prepared to go solo in Andhra Pradesh”.

There is more to the TDP story than what meets the eye, they say, alluding to TDP chief’s “personal political ambitions” as one of the causes.  The leaders claim the decision to pull out ministers was “a well-thought-of plan and it was decided that the separation should be in steps to gauge the ground situation”.

Meanwhile, there is speculation of TDP’s main rival — YSR Congress led by Jagan Mohan Reddy — cozying up to the BJP. Also, this is not the first time the TDP has walked out of the NDA or an ally accused the BJP of “high-handedness”. Besides the Shiv Sena, there have been reminders about the “coalition dharma” from other allies, including the SAD.

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