Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary, two TDP ministers in the BJP-led NDA government, today submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Raju and Chowdary later told reporters that the party will continue to part of the ruling alliance.
Their resignations came a day after TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced that the party's ministers will quit the central government in protest against its refusal to grant special category status to the state. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the Centre can't offer special status to Andhra Pradesh, but would offer a special package with equivalent funding
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Chowdary said the issue of special category status was very emotive for the state but the Centre did not address it and added that even the special package was not adequate. He, however, said it would be unfair to say that the Centre did nothing for the state.
Naidu had earlier in the day had a telephonic conversation with PM Narendra Modi.
Chowdary added that he and his colleague Gajapathi Raju were stepping down as ministers as it was necessitated by ‘unavoidable circumstances’.
Likening the decision to an unfortunate divorce, Chowdary, the Union minister of state for science and technology, said he and Raju, Union civil aviation minister, would continue to work as parliamentarians for Andhra Pradesh.
"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," Chowdhary said.
The beauty of democracy, he said, was to bring unanimity and make everyone happy and this was the BJP's responsibility.
"When they are in responsible positions they will have to balance such things and during the process of balancing they will have to face such situations," he said.
Noting that he and Raju would continue to work in their personal capacities as parliamentarians and exert pressure to achieve their demand, Chowdhary said, "All parliament members will work for this. We hope we will succeed in getting special status..."
The TDP has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
Asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi's offer of giving special status to Andhra Pradesh if the party came to power, he said it was a hypothetical situation.
According to Raju, "The division was done unscientifically, this is told today by even those who did it. And it needs corrective action. That is what we are requesting now."
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: YS Choudhary. TDP MP— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2018
TDP MP Konagalla Narayana said Naidu waited for four years and the decision to withdraw the party's ministers was an outcome of his losing patience.
"The chief felt that during a fight for special status, it is not right to have our members in their cabinet. So he took this decision... now if they don't act, this agitation will be intensified," Narayana said.
Another MP, Naramalli Sivaprasad, added that the BJP had considered them smaller all these days but would now understand their strength.
Naidu had on Wednesday said that the TDP joined the NDA government only to protect the interests of Andhra Pradesh following its bifurcation but claimed the Centre was taking unilateral decisions without thinking about solutions to the state's problems.
With Agency Inputs
Watch video: TDP ministers quit Modi Cabinet, to remain in NDA