Bogged down by the hostile politics from the state’s ruling YSR Congress Party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Nis approaching central government seeking protection for his party men and offices as well as imposition of President’s rule in the state, alleging complete collapse of constitutional mechanism and law and order.
Naidu, who is in the national capital, is meeting Home Minister Amit Shah as soon as he returns from Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. “We need to fight to protect the state and its people.. We are under attack only because the TDP decided to expose the ruling government’s connections with drug mafia and are against the strengthening clutches of liquor mafia. I am meeting the home minister.. we have to protect the youth and the entire state,” Naidu told a small group of media persons.
A delegation of TDP led by Naiduon Monday with the demand for Presidential rule in the state.
Miscreants pelted stones, attacked vehicles and ransacked the headquarters of the TDP last week and party leaders were also attacked. Naidu has alleged that the YSRCP government was trying to shield the culprits.
Naidu, whose TDP has been facing disintegration after its mercurial rise in the state politics in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, said he is “deeply concerned” about the state of affairs. “Jagan (Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy) has destroyed the ecosystem in the state. We are staring at a serious financial crisis. The fiscal management of the state is in the doldrums. He has borrowed left and right… Companies are becoming non-performing assets. The state is bankrupt and Rs 80,000 crore bills are pending just for the contractors… No money is being spent on infrastructure,” Naidu toldwhen asked about the concerns expressed over the number of freebies introduced by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
Naidu said the money crunch has already forced the chief minister to downsize welfare schemes.
According to Naidu, the YRSCP government started attacking his party and its leaders as the TDP started taking on “the drug mafia.” : “Andhra is becoming a hub for drug activities…The chief minister had announced liquor prohibition but later changed it to restrictions which in effect was to allow his own firms to sell liquor,” he said.
The former chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, who had a key role in the national politics for a long time as part of the socialist grouping United Front and later the-led NDA, said his party quit NDA in 2018 on the issue of special status to Andhra “keeping the state’s interests in mind.”
However, he added that his party does not have any major differences -ideologically and politically – with the BJP major issues other than the special status issue. Asked if he regretted the decision to quit NDA ahead of the 2019 polls in which the TDP faced humiliating defeat he said. “I did it for the state, but it’s true that people did not support us in two elections,” he said smilingly.
Naidu, once known as kingmaker – he played a key role in picking I K Gujral as prime minister in 1997 and presidential candidates like K R Narayanan and APJ Abdul Kalam – admitted that he is not excited about the efforts of forging a third front by West Bengal Chief Minister. He does not think it is the time to make moves mobilising regional parties for a national front against the BJP. But when asked if he would still explore returning to the NDA, Naidu said: “We should explore it, otherwise others will exploit us.”