The announcement that the Shiv Sena will depart from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) might not have come as a surprise to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but the party is working overtime to ensure its other alliance partners do not decamp in similar fashion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to have assured Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu of the union government’s unequivocal support to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) (which Naidu heads) on January 12 when the two leaders met.
One of AP’s main bugbears is — what else — money. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley could, on February 1, announce a special economic assistance package for Andhra Pradesh, to the tune of around Rs 250 billion. This was announced in the budget last year and not implemented. The TDP is also asking for special financial help for Amaravati, assistance for the Polvaram project and help with revenue deficit. The last time Naidu and Modi met was 17 months ago.