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Chandrababu Naidu to expand cabinet, induct son of ex-MLA killed by Maoists

Naidu is apparently trying to send a message across subaltern sections by elevating a family member of a tribal MLA who fell victim of Maoist violence.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2018 21:28 IST
Gali Nagaraja
Gali Nagaraja
Hindustan Times, Vijayawada
Chandrababu Naidu,Andhra Pradesh,Andhra cabinet expansion
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu expanded the cabinet to 24 ministers by inducting his son Nara Lokesh Babu and four MLAs who defected from the YSR Congress on April 2, 2017.(HT File Photo)

With less than six months to go for the 2019 assembly elections, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is expanding his council of ministers on Sunday to facilitate representation of Muslims and tribals.

An official communiqué issued by the chief minister’s office on Friday said the proposed cabinet expansion will take place at the CM’s official residence at Vundavalli in Amaravati at 11am on November 11.

NMD Farooq, chairman of Andhra Pradesh legislative council, hailing from Nandyal in Rayalaseema region, and Kidari Sravana Kumar, 28-year-old IIT graduate and son of TDP lawmaker Kidari Sarveswara Rao, who was shot dead by Maoists at Dumbriguda in Visakhapatnam on September 3, will be sworn in as cabinet ministers by governor ESL Narasimhan, the release said.

Naidu was sworn in as chief minister along with 18 others on June 8, 2014, after his party rode to power in the elections. He expanded the cabinet to 24 ministers by inducting his son Nara Lokesh Babu and four MLAs who defected from the YSR Congress on April 2, 2017.

Kamineni Srinivas, health minister, and P Manikyala Rao, endowments minister, from the BJP resigned after Naidu’s TDP withdrew from the BJP-led National Democratic alliance in Marh 2018. The chief minister has been holding the health department while endowments department was allotted to revenue minister K E Krishnamurthy.

Muslims constitute more than 10% of the state population while scheduled tribes form 7.2% of the people.

Naidu is apparently trying to send a message across subaltern sections by elevating a family member of a tribal MLA who fell victim of Maoist violence.

Besides, he may also be trying to address perceived unrest among adivasis over inclusion of Boya Valmikis and fishermen from backward classes to the scheduled tribes by anointing their tribesman as a minister.

Former tribal welfare minister and Congress leader Pasupuleti Balaraju said long-pending demands relating to the appointment of a state level commission for scheduled tribes, formation of autonomous hill development councils on the lines of north-eastern states were not done during the TDP regime since the tribal welfare department was being handled by someone from the plains who never emotionally can connect to people in hills.

TDP organised “Nara hamara, TDP hamara” programme in Guntur by involving Muslims from all over the state in August, 2018 in a bid to woo them into its fold.

After Naidu parted ways with the BJP, it became a political compulsion to woo the Muslims who are spread over more than 30 assembly segments in Rayalaseema region and parts of central coastal region in which the TDP is set to face a tough contest from YSR Congress and Jana Sena Party.

“Merely giving a berth in the cabinet for Muslims will not help the TDP in any manner in 2019,” said Farooq Shubli, general secretary of Muslim Hakkula Porata Samithi, and sought “due representation in ticket distribution”.

TDP gave only one seat to Muslims in 2014 whereas the YSRC had allotted four Assembly segments in 2014, he pointed out.

First Published: Nov 09, 2018 21:27 IST