What made Chandrababu Naidu withdraw his ministers, Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Sujana Chowdary from the NDA government. While some sections of the national media have described Chandrababu's move as the sign of the first crack in the NDA citadel, those who have been following AP politics know that the truth lies elsewhere.
Leader of the Opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and YSRCP President, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, has been campaigning for Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh from the time of bifurcation of the state. YS Jagan had repeatedly stressed on the need to fight for SCS to the state in view of the hasty manner in which the states had been carved out. AP, he had been emphasizing suffered in the process and had been denied its due. His historic walkathon has proved the need for SCS to AP which has found resonance along every step of the way so far.
The YSRCP chief had been consistently demanding SCS to AP. The TDP leadership in general, and Chandrababu Naidu in particular, ridiculed the notion of SCS to AP. The AP Chief Minister questioned those who were demanding SCS if it was meant to be a 'Sanjeevini' or panacea. In fact, Chandrababu Naidu described SCS as a 'closed chapter', as protesting YSRCP MPs pointed out today. Naidu, all through these four years, kept harping on a Special Package, claiming that it was far more beneficial to the state.
What seems to have compelled Chandrababu Naidu to do a U-turn on this issue now? Evidently, the AP Chief Minister was rattled by the overwhelming response which YS Jagan's Praja Sankalpa Yatra had been receiving wherever he went so far. The YSRCP Chief has been shedding light on the benefits conferred by Special Category Status to the state, the jobs it would generate through an industrial revolution, the investments it would bring, and so on. According to latest reports, Sujana Chowdary and Ashok Gajapathi Raju have handed in their resignations to the Prime Minister.
Judging from what Sujana Chowdary and Ashok Gajapathi Raju have been telling media persons, the TDP seems to have woken up to the reality of the ground situation rather late in the day.
Some nagging questions however, have no answers in the TDP reaction. Why doesn't Naidu come out in support of YS Jagan's motion of No-Confidence against NDA? Why did Chandrababu change his tune from package to SCS overnight? Why did he not withdraw his ministers from the Union cabinet all these years? Why does he continue to be a part of NDA?
It is obvious that Chandrabau Naidu is making a belated and a feeble attempt to have the cake and eat it too. But the people of AP have seen through Naidu's game. As they say, you cannot fool all the people all the time. He has seen that SCS is an emotive issue as well, and nothing he can do now can save him at the hustings.
YS Jagan, on the other hand, has clearly wrested the initiative on SCS to AP. He has been transparent, honest, consistent and committed. He has not budged from his demand for SCS to the state and not changed his stance. Through his integrity and strength of purpose, his conviction and single-minded pursuit of the just cause of Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan, has thus, forced Chandrababu's hand.