Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu secured a non impressive 79th rank in a first of its kind rankings of the state’s ministers and Telugu Desam Party legislators, which was based on a survey conducted by a team from the CM’s Office and the ruling TDP with the help of an outside professional agency in the last three months. Women Development and Child Welfare Minister Peetala Sujatha bagged the top rank among the ministers, while Major Irrigation Minister Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao, Agriculture Minister Prattipati Pulla Rao, and Deputy Chief Minister (Home) Nimmakayala China Rajappa came second, third and fourth respectively. Naidu’s confidant and Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana secured the bottom rank, 19th among the CM’s Cabinet colleagues in the performance survey, which was done two months before the government completes its second year in office in June.
Naidu apprised his ministers about the ranking at an informal meeting this week, asserting that more such surveys would be done periodically to evaluate their performance.
“He (Naidu) has been regularly telling us that he would come out with such rankings, but we never took that seriously. We were caught unawares at the last Cabinet meeting in Vijayawada on Monday when he announced the rankings,” a senior minister from Rayala Seema told The Sunday Guardian.
The ranks were awarded on four criteria. First, their role in highlighting achievements of the government in the last two years; second, their accessibility to the general public and party cadre; third, participation in party and government activities; and fourth, implementation and monitoring of developmental and welfare activities in their respective Assembly constituencies.
A senior functionary in the TDP aware of the rankings process told this newspaper that the CM, despite his special efforts to highlight the government’s achievements, fared badly because he was not accessible to the people of his Assembly constituency on par with other legislators.
However, Naidu’s performance as Chief Minister has not been evaluated and he has been ranked as an MLA rather than as CM. “We have not assessed him as CM because he is a class apart and no other minister in the Cabinet can be compared to him,” said the TDP functionary, requesting anonymity.
The private agency, which collected the data, is understood to have gathered inputs from the party cadre and the public who visited the offices of ministers and legislators. Inputs from the special branch of the police, which keeps a tab on the offices of the ministers, too was taken into account, the party functionary said.
These rankings thrilled people like Sujatha, a first time minister, while shocked others like Narayana who is considered to be very close to the CM. Narayana told this newspaper on Thursday: “I welcome the rankings and accept my last rank among the Cabinet ministers. I will certainly improve my rank next time.”
The ranks of the other ministers are as follows: Kollu Ravindra, rank 5; Ravela Kishre Babu, rank 6; Achennaidu (7), Paritala Sunitha (8), Ganta Srinivasa Rao (9), B. Gopala Krishna Reddy (10), Siddhana Raghava Rao (11), Palle Raghunatha Reddy (12), Kimidi Mrinalini (13), Kamineni Srinivas (14), Yanamala Ramakrishundu (15), P. Manikyala Rao (16), Deputy CM K.E. Krishna Murthy (17).
Opposition YSR Congress has rubbished the rankings. Party spokesman Ambati Rambabu told this newspaper that the whole process of assessing performance and ranking the ministers was a ploy to divert attention from the failures of the Chief Minister. “Where is the authenticity of the rankings? Who assessed them and who ranked them? It’s all done by the CM himself,” said Rambabu.