March 16, 2018 / 4:27 AM / a month ago

TDP quits PM Modi's coalition in blow ahead of election

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) quit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coalition on Friday blaming it for a lack of financial support, officials said, in a blow to the coalition ahead of national elections next year.

N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, speaks during the India Economic Summit 2014 at the World Economic Forum in New Delhi November 6, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/Files

The TDP controls 16 lawmakers in India’s 545-member parliament, but Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition remains in majority.

The party, that runs Andhra Pradesh, had been demanding greater financial assistance ever since the division of the state in 2014 which it says led to loss of revenue.

“We tried our best to be together but the present government ignored the sentiments and emotions of the people of Andhra Pradesh,” Y.S. Chowdary, a TDP member of parliament, said.

Last week, the party pulled its two federal ministers from the government after talks with Modi’s emissaries failed and on Friday it announced it was pulling all its MPs out of the federal coalition.

The loss of the regional ally is the second since January when the right wing Hindu group, the Shiv Sena, announced it would not run in next year’s national election in alliance with the BJP.

Modi has run the ruling coalition with a tight hand, analysts say. The BJP blamed the TDP for the row and said it would build up its own strength in Andhra Pradesh.

“People of Andhra Pradesh have now realised that the TDP is resorting to lies to cover up its inept governance,” said BJP spokesman G.V.L.N. Rao.

The BJP’s troubles with its regional partners come at a time opposition parties are trying to band together ahead of next year’s election.

Reporting by Rupam Jain, Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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