BJP ally N Chandrababu Naidu’s son backs existing Muslim quota in Andhra Pradesh | Latest News India

TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh, the son of party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, said on Friday his party is committed to retaining the 4 percent reservation granted to the Muslim community under the OBC list. TDP’s NDA ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party had attacked the governments in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for providing reservation on religious grounds.

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Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national general secretary Nara Lokesh with his wife Nara Brahmani. (ANI file photo)

Nara Lokesh said a nation or a state cannot progress if a particular section of the society lives in poverty. He said it is the government’s responsibility to expose the under-represented communities to opportunities. He said the decision to grant reservation to Muslims wasn’t taken to appease anyone.

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“The decision to give 4 percent reservation to Muslims was taken in that perspective, not to appease anyone or get political gains,” he told TOI.

The TDP’s stupendous performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections have placed N Chandrababu Naidu in the position of the proverbial kingmaker. With 16 seats in his kitty, Naidu’s support to Narendra Modi is indispensable for the Bharatiya Janata Party for government formation.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won 240 Lok Sabha seats, which is 32 short of the majority mark. For the first time since 2014, the BJP will have to depend on its allies — mainly TDP and JD(U) — to remain in power.

Also read: Quota for Muslims in Telangana and Andhra back in focus

Pulling off a stunning comeback after being written off by pollsters, the INDIA bloc won 234 seats.

Nara Lokesh told PTI that his party would support Narendra Modi unconditionally.

“We joined NDA unconditionally before elections; we will continue to be in NDA unconditionally… We believe that he (Modi) should be the Prime Minister of India and there is no second thought about it,” he said.

He, however, stressed building “a symbiotic relationship” between Andhra Pradesh and the Centre.

Also read: KC Tyagi remembers INDIA snub, claims JD(U) refused ‘Nitish Kumar for PM’ offer

Indicating that the TDP would press for its demands using its support as leverage, he said there would be 100 things such as Agniveer, Uniform Civil Code, reservations, allocation of budgets, development, which could be negotiated across a table.

Amid reports that the INDIA bloc could send overtures to TDP and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), N Chandrababu Naidu officially supported Narendra Modi for the formation of the latter’s third government in a row. However, it is expected that the former Andhra chief minister will bargain for cabinet berths and his party’s core agendas, including a special status to the state, the Agniveer scheme and other issues.

TDP scored a landslide victory in the state’s assembly elections, which were held simultaneously with the national elections.

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