Ashok Gajapathi Raju & Sujana Chowdary quit Union Cabinet
Ashok Gajapathi Raju & Sujana Chowdary quit Union Cabinet

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reluctance to resolve the 'Status' issue in favour of Andhra Pradesh, even after a 10-minute talk with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu here on Thursday, led to the resignations of the two TDP Ministers from the Central Cabinet. 

A little after the conversation between the PM and CM, the two ministers went to Prime Ministers house at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in their personal vehicles and handed over the letters of resignation. 

While Ashok Gajapathi Raju gave simple letter saying that he was quitting from cabinet under special circumstances, Sujana Chowdary said that he was resigning honouring the prevailing public sentiment in his constituency and in adherence to the decision taken by his party TDP.

The day was marked with high drama with the TDP Ministers readying their letters in the morning itself. But as the PM was away in Rajasthan, they had to wait for his return.

Later talking to media, the two ministers said they were stepping down as ministers, a move that was necessitated by "unavoidable circumstances but would continue to be part of the NDA". Likening the decision to an unfortunate divorce, Sujana Chowdary said they would continue to work as parliamentarians for Andhra Pradesh.  

Asked how they would be able to achieve their rights now as the state did not get what it expected when they were in the Union cabinet, he said, “Now we are more free to put pressure on the government. We are not asking for any special favours. What we are asking is what we should get as per the AP State Reorganisation Act 2014.

We hope we will succeed in getting special category status, he said.” Asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi's offer to give special status to Andhra Pradesh if the party came to power, he said it was a hypothetical situation.  He also refused to react to the comments made by YSRCP president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. 

In a counter move, the BJP directed the two ministers in AP Cabinet Kamineni Srinivas and P Manikyala Rao to resign from the council of ministers. They submitted their resignations to the Chief Minister and said that it was a painful decision. The ministers abstained from the cabinet meeting before approval of the budget. They also gave a detailed explanation in the Assembly on the circumstances that led to their resignation.