Naidu suffers a jolt as minister quits
The Nara Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh received a severe jolt with state Major Industries Minister Basheeruddin Babu Khan resigning from the Cabinet within 24 hours after the Telugu Desam Party bailed out the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the Centre during the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha at the weekend.
Babu Khan's resignation coincided with the Bahudaniya
Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day.
In a strongly-worded statement at a media conference in Hyderabad, where he announced his resignation, Babu Khan alleged that the minorities and secular forces felt 'shocked and betrayed' with the TDP casting its lot openly with the BJP.
Stating that he was acting on 'the call of his conscience', Babu Khan said he was resigning to ''uphold the principles of secularism and to honour the sentiments of his community''. He asserted that his decision was irrevocable.
He, however, declared that he was neither quitting the
TDP 'for the present' nor his (Bodhan) seat in the state
He would ''continue to make efforts to restrain the party's
slide towards the fascist and communal BJP''. The Muslims, who had 'quietly accepted' Naidu's 'neutrality' stance condemn 'this act of TDP', he said.
Babu Khan maintained that he was not aware of the
TDP's crucial decision (to vote in favour of the Vajpayee
government) or of a 'possible secret understanding with the
He said the minorities had hoped that the TDP would uphold the secular ideals and keep at bay the communal forces, symbolised by the BJP at the state and the national levels.
The Muslims amply demonstrated this faith in the 1994 assembly election and this was reaffirmed in the 1996 and 1998 general elections as well. The Muslim leaders came out openly in support of the party in the recent election, as never before, the fruits of which were realised in the Telangana
region, he added.
Replying to a spate of questions, Babu Khan said he had not
not spoken to Chandrababu Naidu before deciding to resign.
He claimed that Naidu, to whom he had spoken on three
occasions earlier, did not reveal his plans.
He said Naidu had harped on the 'equidistance stance' in his cabinet meetings, party fora and interaction with Muslim MLAs, and that the community had accepted it quietly. Now his neutrality has evaporated, he charged.
Repudiating Naidu's stand that he had taken the decision to
support the BJP in the interest of the state, Babu Khan said the
TDP could have played a far effective role by remaining neutral as the key for the survival of the BJP government would be with the party.
He also rejected Naidu's contention that he was supporting the
BJP due to political compulsions. ''On the larger plane, supporting the BJP is harmful for secularism. The electorate will make its choice (in the next election in the state),'' he added.
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