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Why did Modi soften stand on Naidu?

NEW DELHI: Sudden call from Prime Minister’s Office to Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 12 came as a big surprise for the political circles in the state.

It has been more than a year since Naidu had met Modi and in the last one year, Modi had not responded to a number of requests by the chief minister for an appointment to represent on the state’s issues.

While YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and his MP V Vijaya Sai Reddy and even CPI leader K Narayana could meet Modi, the TDP chief could not get the appointment.

However, things seem to have changed after the recent Gujarat elections. Though the BJP won the assembly elections, Modi has realised that the tough times have started for the BJP and an anti-incumbency atmosphere is gradually prevailing across the country.

Unless the BJP can win considerable MP seats in the South, it may face difficulty in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the BJP will have to depend on its allies to retain power.

And the TDP, too, seems to be fed up with the non-cooperation from the Centre for Andhra Pradesh, especially with regard to Polavaram project and Amaravati and the negative comments being made by the local BJP leaders.

Naidu moves his pawns quickly and the TDP started counter-moves against the BJP. In the latest discussion on triple talaq bill, the TDP took a completely anti-BJP stand and joined hands with the Congress in demanding that the bill be sent to the select committee.

That is precisely why Modi has decided to soften his stand towards Naidu. He gave an appointment to the TDP MPs from AP and heard their grievances patiently. He also agreed to give appointment to Naidu.

Within hours, the PMO sent a message to Naidu that he could meet Modi on January 12 to discuss the unfulfilled and long-pending issues which are part of AP State Reorganisation Act.

Naidu is expected to take up certain long-pending issues like Special Railway Zone to Andhra Pradesh, financial assistance to the sunrise capital city Amravati, grants and loans, bridging the revenue gap, reorganisation of the Assembly constituencies, release of funds under the special package and other pending issues.

Both the leaders are also expected to discuss the overall political situation in the state and this is expected to clear the air about the continuation of alliance and may also help in reducing the on and off differences that have been cropping up between the two parties.
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