Deliberations within the All India N.R. Congress have started to arrive on a consensus in choosing the Cabinet colleagues of Chief Minister N. Rangasamy.
As the 13th Assembly had been constituted and there was no time limit to form the full Ministry, Mr. Rangasamy would take his time in carefully picking his five colleagues to avoid any disgruntlement.
However, it has become certain that the main contenders for the ministerial posts are former Speaker V.M.C. Sivakumar, the rebel DMK member who won as Independent from T. R Pattinam, M. Chandrakasu, P. Rajavelu, V. Sabapathy alias Kothandaraman, P. Angalane, N.G. Pannerselvam, P.R. Siva, Ashok Anand, T. Thiagarajan and M. Vaithianathan.
Mr. Sivakumar would either get a Ministerial post or become Speaker as it was promised in return for the support to the government, sources in AINRC told The Hindu.
Choosing the five is sure to be tricky as Mr. Rangasamy has to iron out several issues. His biggest challenge would be keeping the flock together as several of the newly elected members and those aiming for the ministerial berths are deserters from other parties.
Among the 15 members of AINRC, apart from the Chief Minister who represents two Assembly segments, Mr. Chandrakasu, Mr. Rajavelou and Mr. Angalane are former Ministers. Mr. Thiagarajan and Mr. Pannerselvam, nominated MLAs in the last Assembly, deserted their parent parties - Congress and Pattali Makkal Katchi respectively - and joined the AINRC before the elections.
Mr. Siva, a former member of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, too was a member in the last Assembly but joined the AINRC in the last minute. The other two contenders, Mr. Anand and Mr. Vaithianathan, are businessmen and new faces in the political arena.
AINRC sources said Mr. Rangasamy was keen on providing representation in the Ministry to Karaikal as he had given an assurance during elections. He was also particular in giving a caste balance to his Ministry.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Assembly Secretariat has forwarded the file to the Chief Minister's Office for the appointment of pro tem speaker and authorising him to administer the oath to the elected members.
As per the convention, the senior most member would be appointed as the pro tem Speaker. Among the present legislators, Mr. Kothandaraman is the senior most, sources in the Secretariat told The Hindu.