TDP leaders livid after defectors get Cabinet berths

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 03, 2017

TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu with his son and newly-inducted Minister Nara Lokesh   -  FILE PHOTO

Induction of four YSRC turncoats triggers heartburn among TDP veterans, cadre

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to induct into the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet four defectors from the Opposition YSR Congress has caused considerable dissent among leaders and cadre of the ruling Telugu Desam Party.

The Cabinet reshuffle, the first since June 2014, saw 11 new members being inducted, and five dropped. Among the new inductees is Nara Lokesh, son of the Chief Minister and TDP supremo. The rejig seems to have been effected with an eye on the 2019 elections.

Venkata Sujaykrishna Ranga Rao, Bhuma Akhila Priya, N Amarnath Reddy and Ch Adinarayana Reddy, who were elected on YSRC tickets in 2014, and since then have defected to the TDP, are the MLAs inducted into the Cabinet. Their inclusion, political watchers say, is aimed at strengthening the party in the faction-ridden Rayalaseema region.

A growing rumble

A number of TDP leaders are sulking: a couple of them have threatened to quit, while others have chosen to wait and watch before deciding on their next move. Several of them were hopeful of being inducted into the Cabinet during the recent expansion.

Outgoing Cabinet members Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy — who has quit as MLA, and Ravella Kishore Babu have said that the Cabinet selection was against the spirit of the party founded by the late NT Rama Rao.

Senior TDP leaders Butchaiah Chowdhary, Dhulipala Narendra, Chintamaneni Prabhakar and Bonda Uma have expressed concern at being overlooked.

A five-time MLA from Guntur district and another prominent leader of the Kapu community are sulking too. Some TDP leaders have initiated moves to pacify them.

While Naidu may have had to balance the interests of party cadre, caste and regional equations to strengthen the party ahead of the 2019 elections, a segment of the TDP and the Opposition seem to be on the same page in criticising Naidu’s moves.

In Telangana, when several of the TDP legislators defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) after the 2014 Assembly polls, Naidu had cried foul, questioning the move. The induction of Srinivas Yadav into the K Chandrasekhar Rao Cabinet was the ultimate shock.

Now, it is Naidu who faces uncomfortable questions for inducting four the turncoats. YSRC chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy and the Left parties have questioned the move, describing it as the ‘murder of democracy’.

Published on April 03, 2017
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