The Telugu Desam Party on Sunday evening backed the Election Commission's order banning religious rallies in Gujarat.
"The Election Commission, as a constitutional authority, has full powers to take such a decision in order to ensure smooth elections," TDP spokesperson Ummareddy Venkateswarlu said.
The TDP has also taken note of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statement supporting the stand of the Election Commission on the issue. "If the issue comes up in Parliament, the TDP will elaborate on its stand," he said.
"After the election process begins, the entire state administration comes under the Election Commission and its orders should be binding on all the parties. The TDP's consistent stand is that religion and politics should not be mixed," he added.
On the issue of divestment in the public sector enterprises, the TDP said that the differences within the Bharatiya Janata Party and within the National Democratic Alliance had put the 'very concept of reforms and divestment under attack'.
The party called for more transparency in the process of divestment and gave the example of the Centaur Hotel at Mumbai wherein, within a short time after the sale of the hotel to a private party, it was a resold at a higher price by the buyer to another party.
The party is also sore with the central government for the meagre drought assistance of Rs 1.75 billion.
TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has asked the Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party to raise the issue on the first day of the winter session of the Parliament on Monday.
"The NDA government has surrendered to political blackmail of the Congress and done a grave injustice to Andhra Pradesh by providing less assistance to the State compared to the other drought-hit states," Venkateswarlu said.
The Rs 20 billion drought package announced by the central government for 15 states included only Rs 1.75 billion for Andhra Pradesh. This was against the cash assistance of Rs 18.5 billion and 2.5 million tonnes of free rice under Food for Work programme sought by the state government to tackle what is stated to be the worst drought in 31 years.
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