Andhra Pradesh: Pawan Kalyan to be deputy CM in Chandrababu Naidu government?

Naidu was elected the NDA leader in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly

Pawan Kalyan with Chandrababu Naidu Pawan Kalyan with Chandrababu Naidu | PTI

The NDA legislators of Andhra Pradesh, including those from Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Janasena and BJP, met on Tuesday to elect TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu as their leader, paving the way for him to become the state's next Chief Minister. Andhra Pradesh BJP chief D Purandeswari and Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan also attended the NDA meeting and supported Naidu as the CM candidate.

However, reports have emerged that Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan has sought Deputy Chief Minister post in the state. Pawan was elected as the party's floor leader in the Assembly on Tuesday. The party has 21 legislators in the 175-member House while the TDP has 135 seats.

While the previous YSRCP government had five deputy chief ministers representing various social groups, Naidu is likely to have only one deputy and Pawan could hold the coveted post. This could also be why Pawan chose not to join the Union Cabinet, despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was interested in him. At a recent NDA meeting, PM Modi praised Pawan Kalyan, calling him "a storm". 

The Janasena chief could also use this opportunity to increase his party's representation in the State Cabinet. Especially since he didn't want to give his cadres the impression that he was moving out of state politics.

Hectic parleys are on at Naidu's residence to select ministers. As per the norms, the cabinet can comprise a maximum of 25 ministers besides the chief minister and Naidu wants to fix the names before he is sworn-in. 

Naidu's son Nara Lokesh may also get a berth in the state Cabinet. Lokesh was the IT minister in the 2014 Naidu Cabinet. Janasena leader N Manohar could also be included in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Naidu is scheduled to take oath at 11.27 am at Kesarapalli IT Park near Gannavaram Airport on the outskirts of Vijayawada on Wednesday. 

NDA leaders comprising TDP, BJP and Janasena would meet Governor S Abdul Nazeer and stake claim to form a government. There could be an invitation from the Governor to form the government by Tuesday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other dignitaries are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

This is his fourth stint as the Chief Minister. He first became the chief minister in 1995 and went on to have another two terms. The third term came post-bifurcation of the state as the first chief minister of bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. He served till 2019 after he lost to YSRCP.

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