What is TDP’s next move?

TDP MP and former union minister Y S Chowdary had met Governor E S L Narasimham a fortnight ago in Hyderabad. Central Intelligence Bureau chief met Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on April 18. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had met Governor Narasimhan in Vijayawada on April 22.

All these meetings have political significance as the TDP had pulled out of the NDA and is fighting against the Union government, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on denial of justice to the State, more importantly the denial of special category status. Chandrababu Naidu held a 12-hour long protest in Vijayawada on April 20, where he announced a war against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is also planning to organise a protest meeting in Tirupati on April 30, where Narendra Modi as prime minister candidate addressed a meeting in 2014 and promised special category status.

The on-going agitation in the State against the BJP government and the series of meetings raise doubts over the seriousness of the fight put up by Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP. A few days before the TDP pulled out of the NDA government at the Centre, business tycoon Mukesh Ambani had closeted with Chandrababu Naidu in Amaravati. It was the time when Chandrababu Naidu was slowly admitting his displeasure with the Prime Minister on denial or delay in release of funds to the State, including Amaravati and Polavaram project.

Chandrababu Naidu found himself uncomfortable when the Central government raised objections over the spending on the Polavaram project. Union Minister for Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari, began acting tough with the State government on the project, which had forced Chandrababu Naidu to visit Gadkari in his residence at Nagapur a few months ago. The objections raised by Gadkari and the subsequent compromise worked out was the beginning of the end of the TDP-BJP alliance.

Naidu had expressed his displeasure over the change of guard in the Union Water Resources Ministry as he was initially comfortable with Uma Bharathi holding the portfolio. But, when Gadkari took over the reins, he began to act tough and had made a personal inspection of the project. He had also sent a couple of expert teams from the Centre to the Polavaram project site. He had asked the State government to make three separate accounts for the project – the project cost, the land acquisition cost and the resettlement cost, which was not acceptable to the State government, which had put the total cost at Rs 58,000 crore.

The TDP, which found itself uncomfortable with the BJP government due to its objections on Polavaram had found the Union Budget more uncomfortable and finally pulled out of the alliance.

Now, the series of meetings connected with the series of political developments in the State raise doubts over the TDP’s next move. People here say that the TDP would change its plan if the Central government gives some money for Polavaram and Amaravati and come back to the NDA fold. Sources say that Narendra Modi is ready to give about Rs 5,000 crore for Amaravati and Rs 10,000 crore for Polavaram, besides giving a legal status to the special package that was announced in 2016.

Chandrababu Naidu, who is known for changing his stand that suits his political fortunes will make his stand clear in the next fortnight, the sources said.

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