Meet TDP Ministers Who Resigned Over Andhra Special Status
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary.(Photo: Wikipedia/Altered by The Quint)

Meet TDP Ministers Who Resigned Over Andhra Special Status

In a bid to send a strong message to the Centre, two Union Ministers of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) submitted their resignation letters to PM Narendra Modi on Thursday, 8 March, a day after Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu threatened that two of its ministers would quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, since it failed to grant a special category status to the state.

Speaking at a press conference on 7 March, the CM had said that two Union Ministers from the TDP, Ashok Ganapathi Raju (Minister of Civil Aviation) and YS Chowdary (Minister of State, Science and Technology), would resign on Thursday from the Cabinet.

Also Read : Andhra-Centre Row: Naidu Says 2 TDP Ministers Have Resigned

The highly speculated move had come hours after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi told the media that granting of special status to Andhra Pradesh was not possible after the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.

Although the TDP has 16 members in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha, pullout from the coalition will not shake the comfortable majority enjoyed by the BJP and the NDA. However, it is important to note that the TDP will be the first pre-poll partner of the BJP to pull out of the Modi government after being a part of it for nearly four years.

But who are the two ministers who resigned with the aim of keeping the hope of Andhra getting a special status alive?

Gajapathi Raju

With a political career spanning almost 35 years, Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju is the only Lok Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh who was part of Modi's Cabinet.

The first time he was elected to the legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh was as a member of the Janata Party in 1978, and he has proved his loyalty to the Telugu Desam Party ever since it was founded by NT Rama Rao in 1982.

After joining the TDP, his winning streak continued and he was re-elected to the Andhra Pradesh legislative Assembly in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2009.

He served the state as a Cabinet Minister for Excise, Commercial Taxes, Finance, Revenue and Legislative Affairs. He has been an MLA from Vizianagaram assembly constituency for the periods of 1978–2004 and 2009–2014.

He managed to win the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Vizianagaram and went onto become the Minister of Civil Aviation on 27 May 2014.

Also Read : Will the Andhra Divorce Make Naidu Look Like the Good Guy?

YS Chowdary

Yelamanchili Satyanarayana Chowdary or YS Chowdary is one of the richest MPs with assets of about Rs 190 crore.

The Rajya Sabha member from the Telugu Desam Party is the minister of state (MoS) for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

The relationship of Chowdary and Naidu goes back to the period of 1995-2004 when the latter was the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh. Chowdary’s efforts as one of the main fund-raisers for the TDP did not go unnoticed and he was elected as Rajya Sabha MP in 2010.

He has earlier been a member of Indo-Singapore Parliamentary Friendship Group, Parliamentary Standing Committee and a Parliamentary Forum.

He was strongly against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

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