The no-confidence motion against the government, brought by the Telugu Desam Party and to be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Friday, is a 'prestige issue' and 'historic opportunity' for the five crore people of Andhra Pradesh, party chief N Chandrababu Naidu told his MPs Thursday.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also wrote fresh letters to the Lok Sabha members of other opposition parties seeking their support for the no-trust vote, the first against the Narendra Modi government, TDP sources said.
"This is a historic opportunity, an inspirational occasion. You should echo the voice of five crore people of Andhra Pradesh in Lok Sabha as this is a prestige issue," he told his MPs during a teleconference.
The TDP MPs will, however, have little time to speak about the alleged injustice done to the state by the Centre with regard to the implementation of the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, as it has only 16 members in the Lok Sabha.
Parties are allocated time in Parliament for participating in a debate according to their strength.
Though Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas had moved the motion in Lok Sabha yesterday, Naidu has chosen Guntur lawmaker Jayadev Galla to kick off the debate on Friday.
The TDP also wants two more of its MPs to be given an opportunity to speak on the motion.
"We will get only 15 minutes to speak on the motion but you seek more time. Ensure that nobody (other opposition parties in the House) is against us. Either they should support us or stay neutral," Naidu told the MPs.
However, apart from raising its main demand for according special status to Andhra Pradesh, opposition parties have asked the TDP to dwell on issues like lynching and communal violence to present a united face while attacking the government during the discussion.
Senior Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad held talks with representatives of other parties in New Delhi and there was a broad agreement that since several opposition parties have supported the TDP's motion, it should reciprocate and raise issues close to their heart.
"We had discussed at our last meeting that the TDP, apart from its main agenda of special status to Andhra Pradesh, should also raise issues such as lynching, communal violence, farmer suicides and others mentioned by the other opposition parties.
"This will certainly show that the Opposition is united against the government. We have already spoken to TDP leaders about it," a senior leader privy to the development said in the national capital.
In an embarrassment for the TDP, its Anantapuramu MP J C Diwakar Reddy has said he will not be present in the House when the motion is taken up for discussion and vote.
Reddy, who did not attend Parliament on Wednesday, said he would continue to stay away when the no-trust motion moved by the TDP is taken up for discussion, and also during the entire Monsoon Session.
The party has issued a whip directing all its MPs to attend Parliament on Friday and Monday.
Reddy said it does not matter even if a whip was issued.
"This is just a routine. The government is not going to fall anyway. And I cannot speak English or Hindi. So my presence or absence doesn't matter," he told reporters in Anantapuramu late on Wednesday night.
TDP top leaders are in touch with Reddy to persuade him to attend the proceedings on Friday, sources said.
On the other hand, the YSR Congress, the main opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, is a weakened lot in the Lok Sabha after the Speaker accepted the resignation of five of its MPs who quit to protest denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
The party has just four MPs in the Lower House now.