Amravati/NEW DELHI: The Telugu Desam Party's two ministers in the central government met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening and handed him their resignation. Shortly before that PM Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who, during the 10-minute conversation, formally conveyed the TDP's decision to pull out its two ministers over its demand for "special status" for the state. Sources said the conversation was cordial and did not reflect current tensions.
"Yes we have resigned," said the TDP's Y S Chowdary, who quit as the Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences along with Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju. It is up to the Prime Minister now to accept the resignation and send them to the President.
Both TDP leaders added that the party would continue to be part of the NDA.
Likening the decision to an unfortunate divorce, Chowdary, the Union minister of state for science and technology, said he and Raju, Union civil aviation minister, would continue to work as parliamentarians for Andhra Pradesh.
The TDP has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha and four in the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP's four-year-old alliance with the TDP was brought to breakpoint when Chandrababu Naidu called a press conference on Wednesday night to announce that he was pulling out his ministers, hours after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out "special status" to Andhra Pradesh.
"The Centre cannot say now that all the funds that I have will now be given to the states and I have no money because after all the security of India is a Central responsibility," Jaitley had said at a press briefing.
Soon after Naidu's announcement on Wednesday night, BJP chief Amit Shah spoke to the party's Andhra Pradesh chief K Hari Babu instructing him that the BJP's ministers in the state government, Srinivasa Rao and T Manikyala Rao, must resign. They resigned on Thursday morning.
Health minister Kamineni Srinivas and Endowments minister P Manikyala Rao met the chief minister at the state Assembly on Thursday and submitted their resignations.
They thanked him for having inducted them into the state Cabinet.
The chief minister, in turn, complimented the BJP members, saying they had discharged their duties well.