Stage set for Chandrababu Naidu to take oath as Andhra Chief Minister, Pawan Kalyan as his deputy

As far as BJP is concerned, no decision has yet been taken as Naidu is yet to consult the leaders of the saffron party. In all likelihood, the party may get two berths.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jun 11, 2024 | 9:15 PMUpdatedJun 11, 2024 | 10:23 PM

Chandrababu Naidu with Pawan Kalyan

There is intense speculation over who will be in Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s team, which will be sworn in at the sprawling IT Park Grounds at Kesarapalli, near Gannavaram Airport, in Vijayawada at 11.27 am on Wednesday, 12 June.

With officials busy making preparations for the grand event, Naidu remained busy picking his team members even as the blood pressure kept shooting up among the legislators debating their prospects. They would know whether the grapes are sweet or sour only tomorrow.

The officials are making seating accommodations for about 50,000 but expect that about one lakh people will turn up. For those who arrive without invitation, giant screens are being set up for them to watch the proceedings. There may not be any speeches at the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be among the VVIPs who are expected to attend the event, which is rare. Usually, it is either Modi or Shah who attend any event but this time they are giving an exception to the rule.

According to reliable sources, Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, who was Naidu’s comrade-in-arms in the three-party alliance, is all set to take over as deputy chief minister with an important portfolio.

It is also more or less confirmed that party general secretary Nara Lokesh will be taken into the cabinet.

Also Read: Chandrababu Naidu announces Amaravati as sole capital city of Andhra Pradesh

Factors influencing cabinet selection

Unlike in the earlier Jagan Mohan Reddy cabinet, it is said that there would be only one deputy chief minister- Pawan Kalyan – in Naidu’s cabinet. The TDP might take Jana Sena’s Nadendla Manohar, also into the cabinet besides two more legislators from the party.

As far as BJP is concerned, no decision has yet been taken as Naidu is yet to consult the leaders of the saffron party. In all likelihood, the party may get two berths.

As the TDP won 135 of the 175 seats on its own, there is acute competition for the berths. However, Naidu has a limited choice as his cabinet can’t go beyond 26 including himself. After filling the BJP and Jana Sena quota, the TDP would be left with about 20 berths.

The sources said that Chandrababu Naidu is taking several factors including caste, gender and region into consideration before finalising his team members. Given Andhra Pradesh’s strong caste dynamics, it is important that an equilibrium is maintained among the castes to prevent any caste from feeling let down.

It is expected that the entire cabinet including Jana Sena and BJP, would have a good representation for the BCs, which may go up to eight. Naidu is expected to keep in mind the need for the inclusion of the SCs and STs and the forward castes including kammas, reddys and kapus.

The TDP chief is also weighing other factors. For instance, in Srikakulam, N Rammohan Naidu, a BC, is already in the central cabinet. However, Naidu may also need to consider K Achen Naidu although he is the paternal uncle of Ram Mohan Naidu.

This may affect the chances of others. Similarly, the induction of Dr Pemmasani Chandrasekhar, who is a kamma, into Modi’s cabinet might overshadow the prospects of others.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)