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Chandrababu Naidu's TDP snaps ties with NDA making a remarkable shift in national politics
The Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) decision to end its four-year-old alliance with the BJP and pulling out of the NDA over denial of Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh is bound to lead to a remarkable shift in the nation's political scene.

This decision has come from the TDP eight days after withdrawing its two ministers P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary from the Narendra Modi cabinet. TDP, the third largest allay in the NDA, having highest number of MPs, after the BJP and Shiva Sena, also moved no-confidence motion against the Modi government, to which as many as 20 parties extended their support. This reveals TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu's clout in the national politics.

The crisis erupted between BJP and TDP after the Centrer failed in implementing the `Special Package' announced in November, 2016, as promised in the AP Reorganization Act, 2014.

Although Naidu has said that the decision was taken due to his compulsion to protect the interests of the newly bifurcated state, the tone and related bad weather shows he his eyes on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Having played a key role in formation of the National Front and United Front governments at the Centre and also being a key supporter to NDA's Vajpayee-led government from 2009 to 2014, Naidu expects that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would give him more prominence, including making him NDA's Convenor. But to his surprise, from the very beginning, Modi lost no opportunity to weaken his position.

Although he had been silent on the Centre's meagre assistance to AP since 2014, Naidu got reportedly angry over Modi denying him a formal appointment while the leader of opposition YS Jaganmohan Reddy could manage `free access' to the Prime Minister.

Significantly, Modi is ignoring the interests of AP, as he has assessed that it will be impossible for the BJP to emerge as a major political force in the state as in others states like Odisha, West Bengal and Karnataka, where it can expect to form its own government at some time. That's why the Centre is maintaining silence even on issues like Railway Zone at Visakhapatnam. Such a decision would also have a negative impact on the sentiments of Odisha people, another state which has been demanding SCS since 2014.

It was only at the insistence of both Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley during the passage of AP Reorganisation Bill in the Rajya Sabha that the erstwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced that Special Status would be accorded to AP.

In fact, the same was approved in the cabinet meeting and was forwarded to the then Planning Commission for further action. However later, Arun Jaitley refused the `Special Status' taking shelter from the so-called recommendations of 14th Finance Commission. Even Finance Commission chairman YB Reddy himself categorically stated that he hadn't made any such recommendations.

Although a special package was announced last year in the place of special status, till now not a rupee has been allocated under the package. Narendara Modi, who systematically weakened all senior leaders within the BJP like LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha, is also attempting to clip the wings of major opposition leaders. Some leaders like Lalu have even been silenced through their pending CBI cases. Lalu Prasad Yadav, who refused to bow down, and instead attempted to realize his dream of a `grand alliance' against the BJP, was sent to jail.

Another possible rival, Nitish Kumar was `forced' to return back into the BJP's fold, and since then, he started turning weak in his own state. Among the NDA allies, Chandrababu Naidu is the only leader, who has the potential to emerge as a meeting point for all non-Congress and non-BJP parties, including left parties. He has been maintaining good rapport with several regional heavy weights like Mamata Benerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar and Prakash Singh Badal.

It is significant to note that when TDP's MPs protested in the Parliament accusing ill-treatment to AP in budget allocations, almost all parties, including some senior BJP leaders like LK Advani, expressed solidarity with them.

After the by-poll results in UP and Bihar, Modi's vote catching powers have become questionable. Taking advantage from this scenario, Naidu seems to be getting ready for a `master stroke' to pull down Modi further so as to emerge as a major opposition leader at national level.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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