NEW DELHI / VIJAYAWADA : The rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its former ally the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) widened further on Saturday with BJP chief Amit Shah launching a frontal attack on the Chandrababu Naidu-led party, accusing it of ending the alliance purely for political reasons and that it sabotaged the state’s interests for political gains. On Saturday, Shah shot off a nine-page letter seeking to rebut the TDP’s charges that the Centre was apathetic towards the state, claiming the Narendra Modi government was going the extra mile to fulfil its mandate under the AP Reorganisation Act.
Shah’s is the first strong message from the BJP that the relations between the erstwhile allies have touched the nadir. The letter was preceded by a brainstorming session convened by Shah last week in which the BJP chief tasked key leaders to bring Andhra on top priority for expansion of the saffron outfit.
The move, coming a week after the pullout of the TDP from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, evoked a sharp reaction from Naidu who said it’s full of lies, half-truths, and deviations from the facts. Naidu said that it was the saffron party, which unilaterally severed ties with TDP in Telangana.
Reading out the BJP chief’s letter in the Legislative Assembly, the Andhra Chief Minister said he is only asking the central government to give the state what is being provided to other states having special status, as Andhra was also promised Special Category Status. “We only asked to review the implementation of promises made to the state, but you have subverted what we have asked? You have figures and we too have them. Let us review what was given and what was not. But how justified is to give such unilateral statements?” he asked.
The adversarial tone of Shah’s letter, according to a close aide of the BJP chief, is to be seen in the backdrop of the fact that the saffron outfit has already constituted executive committees on 4,2000 polling booths in the state.BJP sources said the party feels it hs been portrayed a villain in AP for no reason and after the break-up, it is “free from any alliance obligation”.
Amit Shah is reportedly anguished with Naidu because TDP’s exit set off similar discordant notes among other NDA allies. “The BJP chief has of late spent a lot of time to bring a sense of normalcy with other allies. What the TDP has done is simply a betrayal despite all genuine efforts of the Centre,” sources said