Senior actor and Telugu Desam Party MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna on Wednesday created ripples in the party camp and political circles in Andhra Pradesh by occupying the chair of chief minister at the state secretariat in Amaravati.
Balakrishna, who came to the secretariat, conducted a review of the officials and public representatives of Anantapur district on the conduct of forthcoming Lepakshi festival in the chief minister’s chamber.
Generally, such meetings are held in the conference hall of the General Administration Department, but the Hindupur MLA held the meeting in the hall, where chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu holds regular review meetings.
As the chief minister was away in Davos, the authorities also did not raise any objection.
But what shocked the officials was that Balakrishna was sitting in the chair of the chief minister and held the review meeting with them. Though a couple of ministers, including irrigation minister Devineni Umamaheshwar Rao was also there, they remained tight-lipped.
The officials, however, felt in private conversations later that Balakrishna had done mistake.
As per the protocol, no other person should sit in the chair of the chief minister, even if the meetings were to be held in his chambers.
One does not know whether the officials did not dare tell Balakrishna about the protocol or he thought being Naidu’s brother-in-law, he had every right to sit in the chair. In any case, it became a hot topic in political circles.
The authorities recalled a similar episode that had happened in the past. When there was a Naxalite attack on Naidu at Alipiri in October 2003, initial reports said he was critical.
Immediately, then home minister T Devender Goud, who was considered to be No. 2 in the government, held an emergency cabinet meeting at the chief minister’s chambers to make the alternative arrangements for the administration.
Though Goud did not sit in Naidu’s chair, the very fact that he held the meeting in CM’s chamber itself sent wrong message and everybody thought Devender Goud convened the meeting to take over as the chief minister. However, Naidu survived and after that, he kept Goud at a distance in the party.
Will Naidu do the same with Balakrishna now?