VIJAYAWADA: Ahead of by-election to Nandyal Assembly seat, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu appears to be crafting a political strategy to ensure minority votes go in favour of TDP nominee Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy, notwithstanding the fact that the party is an ally of the BJP.
Former minister N M D Farooq is tipped to be taken into the Legislative Council in the Governor’s quota and might even be promoted as its chairman since his support is a sine qua non for the victory of the TDP candidate in the Nandyal bypoll. The post of the chairman of the Council has remained vacant since May after A Chakrapani, a BC leader, demitted office.
Farooq met the Chief Minister here on Monday, who reportedly promised membership of the Council, to begin with. Addressing party workers later, Naidu said that the TDP would keep in mind the services of leaders like Farooq and would reward them suitably, thus giving an indication that he would be taken into the Council sooner than later.
After former minister Silpa Mohan Reddy left the TDP and is now in the fray for the seat as YSRC candidate, Naidu is understood to have abandoned the idea of promoting Mohan Reddy’s MLC brother Chakrapani Reddy as chairman of the Council since the latter could not retain his brother in the TDP. By not nominating Mohan Reddy for the Nandyal seat, Naidu has not only saved the post of chairmanship of the Council for a minorities candidate but also made Chakrapani Reddy realise that losing the sinecure was some kind of a punishment for him for not doing the assignment given to him by the leader — retaining his brother in the TDP. Chakrapani Reddy now has to contend himself with the position of MLC.
According to sources, the TDP leaders are stoking the flames of hatred in the heart of Chakrapani Reddy against Mohan Reddy and thus make him work with a vengeance to defeat him in the byelection.
Naidu is enlisting the support of Farooq, who is said to be having considerable influence among Muslim minorities but he remained inactive, nursing a grudge against Naidu for sidelining him all along.
After Farooq reportedly made no bones about his condition that he should be taken into the Council in return for his support for the TDP nominee in the Nandyal byelection, Naidu saw reason in this and is contemplating to reward him with not only the Council membership but also with the chairman post. Of the two seats in the Governor’s quota that are vacant, Naidu had promised one for P Ramasubba Reddy of Kadapa and now he wants to fill the other with Farooq.
Though Naidu has a tie-up with the BJP, it is assumed that it might not come in the way in enlisting the support of the Muslim minorities thanks to Farooq.
This apart, after YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and later touched the feet of BJP’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, it is surmised that he may have lost the edge over the TDP in the minorities constituency. Now, both the TDP and YSRC stand on an even keel, both having something to do with the BJP and Muslims would have to choose between the two.