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Will TDP sever ties with BJP? Decision likely on Sunday

By Vikas

Statements coming from the TDP leaders in the past few weeks and disappointment expressed by Chandrababu Naidu over the Union Budget clearly suggests that all is not well between the BJP and its key ally in South India. With Shiv Sena also mincing no words to criticise the BJP-led government at the Centre, Amit Shah and co will soon have to do something to keep the NDA intact ahead of 2019 general elections.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

Last week, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had said that TDP is ready to chart its own course if the BJP is not keen to continue with the alliance.

Naidu's reaction came in the wake of some remarks by the state leaders of the BJP, who have been criticising the TDP on various issues. Naidu had also said that it was upto the BJP's central leadership to control the local leaders, adding that he was adhering to coalition "dharma" by reining in his party leaders from reacting to their statements.

"Because of coalition dharma, we are keeping quiet..If they don't want us, we will do the 'namaskaram' and chart our own course," Naidu had reportedly told reporters in Amaravati.

After Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget yesterday, Chandrababu Naidu is said to have expressed his disappointment over it. The AP government, which has lined up a host of infrastructure projects and a new capital to be built, had hoped for financial assistance from the Centre, but there was disappointment in store.

Immediately after the Budget was presented, Naidu held a tele-conference with several of his MPs and urged them to pressurise the government in Parliament over the injustice meted out to AP. He said that the allocation has been only for central and tribal universities and the fund allocation for the state had been very poor.

"We are going to declare war, have three options, 1 is to try and continue, 2 is our MPs resign and 3rd is breaking of alliance. Will decide in meeting with CM on Sunday," ANI quoted TDP MP TG Venkatesh as saying on Friday.

"The CM is unhappy. We expected funds for AP but the Budget ignored the revenue deficit state and instead favoured developed cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru," said AP agriculture minister Somireddi Chandramohan Reddy after Budget speech.

[Budget 2018 leaves Chandrababu Naidu fuming]

The TDP which is part of the National Democratic Alliance or NDA at the Centre has been demanding Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation in 2014, but the demand was rejected outright by the Centre.

Naidu will hold a meeting in Amaravati on Sunday to discuss the course of action.

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