BJP ministers K. Srinivasa Rao & T. Manikyala Rao in AP cabinet to quit in tit for tat

Amaravati: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a key ally of the BJP, has decided to pull out of the Narendra Modi government after the Centre ruled out Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh and some other demands.
“We have decided to pull out of the Union Government as the Centre has failed to accept the demands of the TDP on special status for AP, which was promised at the time of bifurcation and other demands connected to the state’s finances,” Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told the media here late Wednesday night after holding consultations with his party colleagues.
The two TDP ministers who are being withdrawn are Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary. They will submit resignations Thursday. “We wanted to convey the information about pulling out from the Government to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he could not be contacted… My OSD has conveyed it to the PM’s OSD,” Naidu said.
Earlier in the day, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh, but added that the government was ready to give the monetary equivalent of it as a special package.
“The government is ready to give the monetary equivalent of the special status to AP. Instead of calling it special status, we’re calling it a special package,” Jaitley had told the media.
He said that although the concept of special status states existed when AP was bifurcated, after implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations it was Constitutionally restricted to the North-East and the three hill states.
Notwithstanding that, Jaitley said that as AP “had suffered” after bifurcation, it needed assistance and the government was ready to provide that. For special category states, the expenses for Centrally sponsored schemes are shared in the 90-10 ratio between the Centre and state compared to the 60:40 ratio in the case of other states.
Jaitley said the only facility that special category atates now enjoyed was this 30 per cent advantage which could be calculated in monetary terms and given to the state.
The FM said that AP earlier wanted those funds via externally aided programmes, but now wanted it through Nabard. “We’re open to that as well but a method has to be evolved so that it doesn’t affect the fiscal deficit of either the state or the Centre,” he said. On meeting the revenue deficit of AP, the FM said the Centre had already paid `4,000 crore. “Only `138 crore remains to be paid.”

Indo Asian News Service

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