Pawan Kalyan Springs Surprise, Opts Out of Union Cabinet

Hyderabad: Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan on Sunday sprang a surprise by opting to stay out of the Union Cabinet, leaving room for speculation that he could move to the Centre sometime later.

It is not known whether or not Pawan Kalyan would exercise the other option of being Deputy CM in Chief Minister-designate N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet, when the latter takes oath on June 12. Sources told Deccan Chronicle that the Jana Sena leader had not conveyed his view on joining Naidu’s Cabinet so far. “We are yet to discuss and close the issue,” sources in the Jana Sena said.

Sources said the Jana Sena had sent a clear signal that if he would opt for it, Pawan Kalyan would want to be the only Deputy CM. Naidu previously had two Deputy CMs, and former chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had five.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a special liking for Pawan Kalyan which he has always exhibited openly ever since 2014 when the film actor worked hard for the NDA’s victory in Andhra Pradesh. Recently, addressing NDA Members of Parliament, the Prime Minister had said: “Pawan is not just pavan but aandhi (cyclone).”

The NDA had broadly devised a formula of giving Cabinet berths to parties having more than 10 MPs and minister of state posts to those with five, and leaving those with fewer seats to be accommodated during the Cabinet expansion.

However, it deviated from the formula and offered the minister of state post to the National Congress Party (Ajit Pawar) faction which won just one Lok Sabha seat in Maharastra. Party Rajya Sabha MP Praful Patel told mediapersons that he had turned it down, treating it as a demotion as he had already served as Cabinet minister in the UPA government.

Going by the logic, the NDA leadership would have accommodated Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena in the first round of Cabinet formation itself. In the run-up to the Assembly elections, Pawan Kalyan had hinted at contesting simultaneously from the Pithapuram Assembly segment and the Kakinada Lok Sabha constituency but chose to stick to the state polls.

Party sources said Pawan Kalyan was cautioned against contesting the Lok Sabha polls as it would demoralise the party cadre which might take it as a sign that he was moving out of state politics.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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