Trouble could be in the air. And the trigger is Chandrababu Naidu’s decision on the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) from the Telugu Desam. This is a Cabinet rank post and Naidu is learnt to have to nominated Payyalu Keshav, the TDP MLA from Uravakonda, as the PAC chairman. By convention, this post goes to the opposition party.
The problem is there were at least three other serious contenders to the post. Former minister Ghanta Srinivas Rao as well as senior TDP MLAs G Butchaiah Chowdhary and Karanam Balaram. They are said to be disappointed that neither of them made it.
But there was a reason why Naidu chose Keshav. The Uravakonda MLA lost in 2014 and could not be made a minister despite having been with the party for long. When he was an MLA, the party was in the opposition.
Two, Srinivas Rao has been a party hopper and has been with the TDP, the Praja Rajyam, the Congress and now back with the TDP. He has always negotiated a plum post for himself in whichever party he went. In comparison, Keshav has not been rewarded for his services to the party.
Also there have been murmurs that Srinivas Rao could be looking at the BJP and could be the leader of the pack that moves out of the TDP when they have sufficient numbers so that they don’t defy the anti-defection law within the Andhra Pradesh assembly. For that they need at least 16 MLAs. Rao has denied he is making any such move.
Keshav is from Rayalaseema, the region where the TDP hardly has any MLAs from in the present Assembly. The other major face, Nandamuri Balakrishna is hardly present in the Assembly and is not active on the ground in his Hindupur constituency. That’s another reason to elevate Keshav.