Chandrababu Naidu Puts Up A Brave Face As 4 Lawmakers Desert Party

Chandrababu Naidu Puts Up A Brave Face As 4 Lawmakers Desert Party

Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said crises were not new to the party after four of his six Rajya Sabha lawmakers joined the BJP. The lawmakers -- YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh, Garikapoati Mohan Rao, TG Venkatesh - also attended media briefing with the new BJP working president JP Nadda.

Mr Naidu, who is in Europe with his family, spoke to a couple of senior TDP leaders here over phone, party sources told news agency PTI. Mr Naidu asked about the rebellion and told the leaders that such crises were not new to TDP, they said.

"We fought with the BJP only for Special Category Status and the state's interests. We sacrificed Central Ministers for Special Status," he was quoted as saying.

Chandrababu Naidu quit the NDA last year over the centre's refusal to provide Special Status to Andhra Pradesh and became one of the key interlocutors of the opposition.

But his plan failed spectacularly. Arch-rival Jaganmohan Reddy, the chief of the YSR Congress, not only won the state elections, but also scooped up 22 of the state's 25 Lok Sabha seats.

Since then, there has been speculation that the party was headed for a split mainly because of growing resentment against accepting Mr Naidu's son Nara Lokesh as the leader.

Mr Lokesh had lost the election, inviting wide criticism from within the party.

Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy had announced in the state assembly recently that some of the TDP legislators were "in touch" with him in a bid to switch sides.

On Thursday, four of TDP's six Rajya Sabha members submitted a petition to the Upper House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu seeking merger with the BJP and later joined the party in New Delhi.

Responding to the move, the BJP state unit said TDP might become "an empty house" by the time Mr Naidu returned from his vacation.

"The political face of AP will change by the time Naidu returns. Many TDP leaders, including former ministers and legislators, are ready to switch over and join the BJP," state vice-president S Vishnuvardhan Reddy said.