Names of ministers to be finalised after Mahanadu meeting

Chief Minister designate N. Chandrababu Naidu is likely to take over the reins of residuary Andhra Pradesh some time after June 2 with an 18-member team.

Although the ceiling for Cabinet composition in Andhra Pradesh is 25 in tune with the guideline of 15 per cent of the total strength of Assembly, Mr. Naidu is likely to keep the balance for an expansion later, keeping in view various political, caste and regional dimensions, highly placed sources in the party said.

It was during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister that the strength of the Cabinet was capped at 15 per cent of the total members in Assembly. The smaller States are exempted from the rule and allowed to have a maximum of 12 ministers.

Fresh from victory in as many as 106 seats in alliance with the BJP, the TDP chief appears to have zeroed in on some names and more are expected to be finalised after the party’s prestigious Mahanadu meeting scheduled on May 27 and 28, the first after its comeback to power after a decade-long gap. While the party leaders are reluctant to share details, interaction with party seniors indicated the likely composition of Mr. Naidu’s Cabinet.

According to TDP sources, seniors like former Minister Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Gadde Rammohan Rao and Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy are sure to find a place in the Cabinet.

First-timers like ‘giant killer’ Kimidi Mrinalini, who humbled former PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana in Cheepurpalli and Dalit leader Ravela Kishore Babu (Prathipadu) could be the new faces.

Speaking to The Hindu, Krishna district party in-charge Devineni Uma said: “Our party president will take a call on the ministries after due deliberations.” Mr. Uma is one among the names the party is likely to consider for a ministry, according to sources in NTR Bhavan.

In Rayalaseema, a few more names could make it to the Cabinet from among senior leaders K.E. Krishnamurthy, Palle Raghunatha Reddy, Kalava Srinivasulu and B.K. Parthasarathi. Last, but not the least, the numerical total of the special number 18 also coincides with 9, which is considered to be a lucky number in Andhra Pradesh and many parts of India.

(With additional inputs by B. Chandrashekhar in Hyderabad)