October 18, 1999
Hyderabad, Oct 17: Srikakulam MP K Yerran Naidu was re-elected leader of the Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party (TDPP) party on Saturday after a four-hour consultation process by Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu.
Yerran Naidu will also be the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha while Adilabad MP S Venugoplachary is the deputy leader. Yerran Naidu was the TDPP leader as well as the party’s Lok Sabha leader in the last House also.
Tenali MP Ummareddy Venkateswarlu, who also aspired for the TDPP leadership, was named the state government’s special representative in Delhi. He will enjoy the status of a Cabinet minister.
Chandrababu Naidu, who announced the names of TDPP office-bearers to the media, described the choice as `unanimous’.
But sources said a majority of the MPs preferred Ummareddy Venkateswarlu and as a compromise the chief minister favoured re-election of Yerran Naidu as TDPP chief and appointment of Ummareddy as the state’s special representative in Delhi.
After the meetingof MPs began at 2 pm on Saturday, the chief minister asked them for their choice on the leadership issue. As none preferred to suggest any names, Naidu held one-to-one consultations with all the MPs. The exercise took about three and a half hours. After eliciting their views, he again called all of them and announced the outcome.
According to sources, Yerran Naidu expressed reluctance to take up any other responsibility if Ummareddy is preferred by majority. Then, the chief minister is said to have persuaded Venkateswarlu to accept the special representative post.
The post was earlier held by Vadde Sobhanadreswara Rao, who was inducted into the Naidu Cabinet as Agriculture Minister after being elected to the state assembly.
The TDPP has 29 Lok Sabha members and 10 Rajya Sabha members.
The following are the other office-bearers of TDPP: TDPP deputy leader and leader in Rajya Sabha — Alladi Raj Kumar; deputy leader in Rajya Sabha — S Ramachandra Reddy; chief whip — M Jagannatham; whip in Lok Sabha- GSuguna Kumari; whip in Rajya Sabha- K M Saifullah; secretary– Suresh Reddy, treasurer — Karanam Balarama Krishna Murthy and spokesman — C Ramachandraiah.
Besides, four MPs from Lok Sabha and two from Rajya Sabha were elected as executive committee members. They are: MVVS Murthy, D Mary Vijaya Kumari, Rajeswari, G Sukhender Reddy and BK Parthasaradhi (all Lok Sabha) and Jayaprada and R Ramachandraiah (Rajya Sabha).
With the election of TDPP office-bearers over, senior TDP MP G M C Balayogi is likely to continue as Speaker of the Lok Sabha if the BJP and other NDA groups have no objection. However, Naidu refused to commit on it. “You will know about it at an appropriate time,” he said in his usual style.
Replying to a specific question whether he had asked the Prime Minister to allot the Speaker’s post to the TDP, the Chief Minister said he had “never asked anyone about any post.”
Naidu said he would expand the State Cabinet very soon after considering all aspects and refused to spell out atime-frame for the same. Pressed further, he merely said: “I am keen on doing it as early as possible”.
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