Andhra Pradesh Special Category Protests: CM Naidu Pulls 2 TDP Ministers From Central Govt

| March 8 , 2018 , 08:21 IST

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday night announced that 2 Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ministers would be withdrawing from the central government after the centre did not heed to its demands for special category status for the state.

"We have taken the decision to pull out two TDP ministers, civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Union minister of science and technology Srujana Chowdary, from the Union cabinet as all our efforts to get special category status failed. It was a last resort decision," said TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh CM Naidu.

Although Naidu did not specify whether TDP would also be withdrawing from the BJP-led NDA, he did mention the 'betrayal' given by the BJP.

"We may be put into trouble after pulling out of the Central government. But we took the decision keeping in view the interests of the state," said Naidu.

"BJP demanded special category status for AP when it was in the Opposition. Now, it says special status to AP is not possible. It is wrong on the part of the Centre to say that if special status is given to AP, other states like Bihar will demand it," the CM added.

The announcement of the Andhra Pradesh CM's decision to withdraw the TDP ministers came hours after a press conference addressed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who said that the Centre could not accommodate TDP's demands for "special category" status or tax relief for the state.

ALSO READ: First Thing When We Come To Power In 2019, We Will Give Andhra Pradesh Special Status: Rahul Gandhi

Jaitley cited the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission according to which the Special Category State designation had been removed. The finance minister did assure to provide assistance to Andhra Pradesh, stressing that political threats cannot change the amount of assistance as "Centre has no free floating fund."

He added, "Every state in India has the right to Central funds in the same manner. Sentiment does not decide quantum of funds, it is the constitutional award of the Finance Commission which decides on the quantum of funds that the states get."

Since the Union Budget 2018 was announced on February 1 and did not feature a special package for Andhra Pradesh, TDP MPs have been protesting, demanding special category status for the state, as promised during the state's bifurcation.