Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate N. Chandrababu Naidu is likely to take time for finalising prospective candidates as the Council of Ministers for the new State.

Mr. Naidu is reported to be seriously examining issues relating to caste and regional balance, representation to all communities in his team of Ministers and the prospect of accommodating the members from his party’s electoral ally, BJP. According to tentative schedule, Mr. Naidu alone will take oath at a massive public meeting near Kaja on the Guntur-Krishna border on June 8 in the presence of several State and national leaders, including Union Ministers.

He is likely to announce his Cabinet in phases subsequently after considering various issues that could otherwise become irritants to the new Government. One major issue which Mr. Naidu is reportedly concerned is the absence of a Muslim MLA in the 175-member Assembly. Sources said one option that is being considered for filling the gap is from the proposed Legislative Council of the new State. The party could nominate a leader from the minority community to the Elders’ House who could be given a Cabinet berth without any hitch.

Several senior leaders from forward castes, including those who switched loyalties to the TDP before elections, are pinning hopes on finding place in the Cabinet, more so after Mr. Naidu announced that two members – one from dalits and other from the dominant Kapu community -- would be made deputy CMs in his Cabinet.

Delicate task

Mr. Naidu, according to sources, is seriously examining this issue as he had to strike a fine balance in caste equations as well as the aspirations of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions in his selection. There is said to be intense competition among the aspirants from East and West Godavari districts where the TDP almost swept the seats as also Anantapur, a stronghold of senior leaders like J.C. Diwakar Reddy, which stood behind the party in the crucial elections.

There are of course contenders from Mr. Naidu’s native Chittoor, Visakhapatnam and Guntur which sent strong leaders like Kodela Sivaprasada Rao to the Assembly. “It is not going to be an easy task to strike such a balance. Mr. Naidu is likely to take his time in finalising his choices which will, by and large, satisfy all the sections,” a member of Mr. Naidu’s core team told The Hindu.