Why is Chandrababu Naidu insistent to become House Speaker?

Naidu’s past grievances, including the defection of key TDP leaders to BJP and bitter exchanges with Shah, have influenced his current stance.

Top Indian News Desk
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Courtesy: ANI

New Delhi: Chandrababu Naidu, a seasoned politician and leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), is set to leverage his support for Narendra Modi's re-election as Prime Minister. With 18 TDP-Jana Sena Party (JNP) MPs backing the government, Naidu is demanding substantial returns, including half a dozen ministries and the Speaker's post, to further strengthen his political influence in Andhra Pradesh.

Ministries and special category status for Andhra Pradesh

Naidu's demands include key portfolios such as Finance, Water Resources, Urban Development, Industry and Health. He is also pushing for the fulfillment of the Centre’s promise on Special Category Status (SCS) for Andhra Pradesh, a status that would significantly boost the state's financial aid and development projects, including the completion of the Polavaram mega irrigation project.

Strategic importance of speakership

Intriguingly, Naidu is also insistent on securing the Speaker’s post. This demand goes beyond mere political power; it is a strategic move to safeguard his party's unity and prevent potential defections. By placing a TDP member in the Speaker’s chair, Naidu aims to shield his party from possible attempts by the BJP to weaken his ranks, reminiscent of past defections of his trusted lieutenants to the BJP.

Financial implications and bargaining chips

Naidu's demands for ministries and financial commitments from the Centre could involve an expenditure of around Rs 50,000 crore or more. While he is pushing hard for critical ministries, some demands, such as those for Rural Development and Health, might serve as bargaining chips in the negotiations.

Naidu's past grievances and cautious approach

Naidu's insistence on the Speaker’s post also stems from his wariness of BJP's top strategist, Amit Shah. Naidu’s past grievances, including the defection of key TDP leaders to BJP and bitter exchanges with Shah, have influenced his current stance. Naidu seeks assurances that Shah will not hold the Home portfolio, preferring it to be assigned to either TDP or JDU, or any other leader, to feel more secure in the alliance.

Naidu's tactical moves

The BJP, however, is reluctant to concede the Home ministry, recognizing its critical role. Consequently, Naidu’s fallback strategy is to secure the Speaker's post, which would provide a significant strategic advantage. As the custodian of the House, the Speaker holds substantial authority in matters of parliamentary proceedings, including defection issues, as protected under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

In this intricate political chess game, Chandrababu Naidu’s demands are both a reflection of his strategic acumen and a necessity for his political survival. By securing key ministries and the Speaker’s post, Naidu aims to not only bolster his influence in Andhra Pradesh but also safeguard his party’s unity and future in the volatile landscape of Indian politics.