At a three-day conclave, Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party passes a resolution saying regional parties have an understanding that they will come together to protect interests of the states.
Vijayawada: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Tuesday resolved to politically realign itself to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next Lok Sabha elections and protect federalism in India, a move that is expected to strengthen efforts to build a national coalition of opposition parties ahead of the general elections next year.
“Constitutional values of secularism, socialism and most importantly federalism are in danger. Regional parties have an understanding that they will come together to protect interests of the states,” the resolution passed on the last day of its annual three-day conclave ‘Mahanadu’ stated.
Finance Commission terms revision
Andhra Pradesh finance minister Y. Ramakrishnudu alleged that the Narendra Modi government is attempting to subvert the Constitution and violate rights of the states by taking away their fair share of funds.
Ramakrishnudu referred to reports that the Centre has recommended revision of the terms of reference for the 15th Finance Commission and revise devolution of funds to states from 42% to 37%.
“This move will not only affect southern states but all states. BJP ruled states may not oppose it but it is unfair to take our money because Modi wants more funds for the Centre so he can take credit for spending it then,” he said.
In May, Ramakrishnudu chaired a meeting of finance ministers of seven states, including Karnataka, Odisha, Sikkim, Mizoram, Punjab and West Bengal, to discuss this issue. A resolution passed against the proposed move was then submitted to the President.
Separately, Tamil Nadu has also written to Prime Minister Modi against changing the terms of reference.
“Modi government has suffocated the state governments. In the name of devolution, the centre arbitrarily drops off certain centrally sponsored schemes and then that burden falls on shrinking state budgets,” Ramakrishnudu added.
The party maintained that it pulled out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) purely because the centre did not financially assist Andhra Pradesh. However, chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said the NDA under PM Modi and Amit Shah is not the same as it was former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure.
Position on the national coalition
The party said that no regional party except the TDP is capable of forging a coalition. It claimed it was instrumental in forming five out of six non-Congress governments in India and will now act against the BJP.
The TDP’s political resolution said while an alliance of regional parties defeating the BJP is certain, it is open to outside support from the Congress and the Left parties.
Top party sources said although there are no deliberations currently with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), a post-poll alliance with the ‘like-minded secular leader’ cannot be ruled out.