Estranged allies Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telugu Desam party (TDP) are set for a showdown during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to launch his party’s election campaign in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur.
The PM is likely to be greeted with “Modi go back” protests by TDP activists. Banners have already been installed at vantage points across the city protesting the visit. TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Modi campaigned together in the 2014 general election.
In March last year, the TDP parted ways with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh that would have entitled it to extra central funds to execute development projects.
Also read: Narendra Modi on three-state southern blitz today to shore up BJP’s prospects in Lok Sabha elections
Naidu asked his party workers in a teleconference on Saturday to stage black flag demonstrations during Modi’s visit and give vent to their anger against the alleged betrayal of the TDP by the NDA.
The BJP accused the state government of seeking to impede Modi’s election rally.
“It’s a black day for Andhra people. If he (Modi) sets his foot in our home state, our soil will become unholy as he is a betrayer, belying his own assurances given to our bifurcated state such as special category status”, Naidu said.
Modi will arrive from New Delhi to address a rally on the Etukuru bypass road in Guntur city at 10am, said U Srinivasa Raju, a spokesman for the BJP. “You cannot stall our programme by creating hurdles. you are doing all this only out of fear….,” tweeted BJP Andhra Pradesh state president Kanna Lakshminarayana.
TDP spokesperson Panchumarthy Anuradha said: “Government gave permission for the BJP rally in Guntur. What is the basis for the BJP’s charges of creating hurdles for PM’s rally.”
Political analyst T Lakshminarayana said that while the BJP had the right to hold public meetings in the state, the TDP also had the right to protest against the manner in which the Centre “reneged on its commitment” to provide special status to Andhra Pradesh.
First Published: Feb 10, 2019 08:07 IST