M A I N   N E W S

TDP reluctant to continue boycott
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 3
The BJP-led NDA's decision to continue the boycott of Parliament subject to reviewing the situation every morning finds a reluctant Telegu Desam party following the diktat without conviction and in keeping with its unwavering anti-Congressism.

Surprisingly, sources in the TDP believe that the NDA's demand of seeing the back of Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav is the most untenable argument. "Boycotting Parliament amounts to abdicating our responsibility," maintained a section of the TDP MPs here.

Yesterday morning, sources said the TDP was about to attend the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha but the NDA leaders decided to continue the boycott of Parliament with the exception of making their presence felt during the passage of the critical Finance Bill lest a wrong signal goes to the people at large.

The TDP is also bewildered by the Opposition argument that the UPA government is short changing them in Parliament. What is it that they want Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to do, certain TDP leaders ask. Dr Singh has already spoken to the Leader of the Opposition and BJP President, Mr L K Advani, over the telephone urging him to end the boycott and take part in the proceedings of the highest legislative body in the country. The NDA, however, has sought to chart a different course. Clearly, there is discernible unease in the TDP ranks.

Mr Advani had spoken to the TDP supremo and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu over the telephone this morning apprising him of the reasons why the NDA had resorted to boycotting Parliament. Even though the TDP is out of power in Andhra Pradesh after two consecutive terms at the helm of affairs in the southern state and the BJP out of its depth at the Centre, Mr Naidu does not want to disturb the existing arrangement for obvious reasons.

Even when the TDP was in power in Andhra Pradesh, one of its ministers was undergoing trial in a murder case. Despite vociferous demands by the Congress which was in the Opposition that the minister concerned be dismissed, Mr Naidu refused to do so.

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