YSR all set to become Andhra's chief minister
All 185 legislators of the Congress are meeting in Hyderabad today to elect YSR as their leader. The new CM will be sworn in on Thursday.
Congress party leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy was all set on Wednesday to become the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh even as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was still reeling from its shock defeat.
All 185 legislators of the Congress are expected to attend Wednesday's meeting here to elect YSR, as he is popularly known, as their leader in the presence of the party's central leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shivraj Patil.
The election is likely to be a smooth affair as YSR has no strong rival and is considered the natural choice for the top post.
Party sources said if the legislators leave the choice to the party's central leadership, Azad and Patil might well announce Congress president Sonia Gandhi's choice at the meeting.
The new chief minister will be sworn in on Thursday to meet the constitutional obligation of a government being in place before the six-month deadline ends on Thursday.
The assembly was dissolved Nov 14 and under the constitution a new government should be formed by May 13.
The Election Commission will submit the list of elected legislators to Governor Surjit Singh Barnla Wednesday and he is likely to notify the constitution of a new assembly.
YSR, who led the party to victory, may alone take the oath on Thursday and later go for a full-fledged council of ministers.
Since the Congress has returned to power after a gap of nine years, the party is planning to make the swearing-in ceremony a memorable one by organising it at the Lal Bahadur Stadium or the Nizam college grounds in the heart of the city.
Meanwhile, the TDP is yet to recover from its worst ever defeat since its birth 22 years ago.
The party won only 47 seats in the 294-member assembly with as many as 28 ministers biting the dust. While accepting defeat, TDP chief and outgoing chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the party would analyse the reasons.
Gloom has replaced the usual hustle and bustle at the NTR Trust Bhavan, the head office of the TDP and at Naidu's residence in the posh Jubliee Hills neighbourhood.
Senior ministers and party leaders are still in their constituencies and Naidu has very few top leaders by his side to analyse the results.
The TDP drew a blank in as many as four districts. None of its candidates could get elected in the Nizamabad, Khammam and Medak districts in the Telangana region and in Nellore district in coastal Andhra.
In nine out of the total 23 districts, the TDP got only one or two seats.
The TDP may find it very difficult to recover from this shock because some of its senior leaders who had been winning for the past two decades were also routed. Lacking the charisma of NT Rama Rao, the TDP founder and his late father-in-law, Naidu might find it tough to bounce back.
The TDP's ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has also started blaming the TDP for the defeat. The BJP could win only two of the 27 seats it contested. Its leaders say the anti-incumbency wave marred its prospects.