AP Cabinet reshuffle after MLC elections

  • Seven may face axe; 13 new faces likely

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is having tough time in choosing his 2019 election cabinet. The internal squabbles in several districts, particularly in Kurnool, are giving sleepless nights to him. It is for this reason the Cabinet expansion is being delayed. Though the expansion was planned in the second week of February, the Chief Minister had deferred it to the first week of March. By that time the MLC elections would be over.

Polls to five MLC seats of Graduates and Teachers constituencies will be held this month. Winning them is important for the ruling Telugu Desam Party to keep its strength intact. TDP is facing a formidable challenge from the Left-sponsored teachers’ unions. Though the Opposition YSR Congress is also fighting the battle and the Congress too has jumped into the fray, the TDP is finding it hard to convince the teachers and the graduates as they are unhappy with the government compromising on the Special Category Status.

The Chief Minister has already asked the party leaders to keep their differences aside and work hard to wrest all the five MLC seats in the ensuing polls. A State-level workshop for the TDP leaders is being organized in Vijayawada to gear up the rank and file for the MLC polls.

Chandrababu Naidu, who has already made up his mind on the inclusion of his son and party’s national general secretary Nara Lokesh in the Cabinet, is undecided on the inclusion of two legislators, Bhuma Nagi Reddy from Kurnool district and Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao from Vizianagaram district.

There is widespread resistance from the party leaders to include them in the Cabinet. In Kurnool, the Gangula family had already left the party and joined the YSR Congress this week. The other influential Silpa family is issuing warnings to the TDP leaders against the inclusion of Bhuma family in the Cabinet.

Though the Chief Minister had held a series of meetings with the warring groups in Kurnool, they proved futile.  Similarly, the district in-charge minister K Atchennaidu too had failed to set the house in order. The Silpa brothers have also reportedly turned down the CM’s truce proposal to include Akhila Priya instead of Nagi Reddy. The big question before Chandrababu Naidu is whether to take Bhuma Nagi Reddy into the Cabinet and lose Silpa brothers or to go back on his promise of giving a Cabinet berth to Bhuma for the defection.

The situation is not so comfortable in the Vizianagaram district. There is a strong resistance from within the party for the inclusion of Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao in the Cabinet. The leaders, including MLCs, are opposing Sujaya Krishna’s induction. It is said that the silent man, P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, is behind these leaders in opposing the elevation of Sujaya Krishna in the district.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is said to have decided to drop at least seven ministers from his Cabinet and include 13 new faces in the reshuffle. According to rumours making the rounds, Chandrababu has made up his mind to drop Kimidi Mrinalini, Peetala Sujatha, Kollu Ravindra, Prathipati Pulla Rao, Ravela Kishore Babu, Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy and Palle Raghunadha Reddy. The Chief Minister is said to be unhappy with the performance of these ministers and want to have new faces to face the next elections.

According to sources, besides Lokesh, the new faces include Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao, Kimidi Kala Venkata Rao, Vangarapudi Anita, Gollapalli Surya Rao, Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, Yarapathineni Srinivasa Rao, Anagani Satyaprasad, Gottipati Ravi Kumar, Somireddi Chandramohan Reddy, Payyavula Kesav and MLC Mohmmad Ahmad Shariff.

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