Seniors who failed to get Cabinet berth fancy their chances

As the Andhra Pradesh Assembly is set to commence its maiden session from June 19, selection of the first Speaker to the newly-constituted Assembly appears to have become a challenging task for Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Several seniors, who could not make it to the State Cabinet, owing to caste, region and district compulsions, are pinning their hopes on the post. Seniors such as P. Narayanaswamy Naidu, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, G. Surya Rao, Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar, K. Kala Venkata Rao and Kaluva Srinivasulu are said to be in the race for the post.

The choice of Mr. Narayanaswamy Naidu becoming the Speaker appears to be remote as his name has already been tipped as Protem Speaker for officiating the proceedings during oath taking by the members including Mr. Naidu. Another aspirant Mr. Srinivasulu, according to party sources, may not be able to make it to the post as he happens to be from Rayalaseema region. “With both Mr. Naidu and Legislative Council Chairman A. Chakrapani hailing from Rayalaseema, an MLA from the coastal Andhra is the automatic choice for the post,” a member of Mr. Naidu’s core team told The Hindu.

This would leave Mr. Kala Venkata Rao, Dr. Sivaprasada Rao, Mr. Narendra Kumar and Mr. Surya Rao in the fray for the post. TDP sources, however, said Mr. Kala Venkata Rao may not make it as his relative K. Mrinalini had already been accommodated in the Cabinet. A four-time legislator Mr. Narendra is said to be unhappy over omission of his name for the Ministerial berth, but his name was not being considered for the Speaker’s post as it would mean leaving out some seniors.

“The choice is likely to be between Mr. Surya Rao and Dr. Sivaprasada Rao,” a senior leader said. While Mr. Surya Rao, owed his political beginning to the Congress, Dr. Sivaprasada Rao, a five-time MLA entering the House after a decade, is a staunch party loyalist and considered strongman from Guntur. Though there were some MLAs hailing from the influential Reddy community, they were unlikely to be considered for the post as they could go soft on the YSR Congress which had more than 30 members hailing from the community in its ranks.