With 11 ministers, Andhra Pradesh takes the cake in the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet as it overtook Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan in its strength in the government.
In fact, there are not only five additions from the southern state but one minister has been elevated to Cabinet rank, among the total of 22 inductions and promotions made on Sunday.
Andhra Pradesh, which has witnessed turmoil over the Telangana issue and the emergence of YSR Congress, now also boasts of having the largest number of Cabinet ministers -- four. It is the only major state where Congress is in power on the basis of its own strength. With Congress performing laudably during polls, the state has contributed significantly towards UPA coming to power in 2004 and 2009.
While Tamil Nadu and Kerala have eight representatives in the Council of Ministers including those of DMK, Maharashtra follows suit with seven, including those of NCP.
Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan have six ministers each at the central level.
In today’s reshuffle, West Bengal saw induction of the second highest number of MPs in the Council of Ministers with three new faces, in an apparent move to take on Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress which parted ways with UPA over two months ago.
Two members each from party-ruled Kerala and Rajasthan also found place in the Union Council of Ministers. One each has been inducted or elevated from Uttarakhand, Delhi, Assam, Gujarat and Karnataka.
While former Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju was elevated to Cabinet rank and given the HRD portfolio, K Chiranjeevi, who helped Congress by merging his 18-member PRP with the party, has became MoS (Independent Charge).
K Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy, Sarvey Sathyanarayana, P Balram Naik and Killi Kruparani are the four other newly inducted Ministers of State from Andhra Pradesh.
Tariq Anwar of NCP is the lone member of a non-Congress party in UPA who has been inducted in the reshuffle. DMK had not shown interest in sending its representatives despite the party having two vacancies following the resignation of A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the wake of controversies concerning the Telecom Ministry.
Interestingly, though Anwar hails from Bihar, he has been elected to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra and replaces Agatha Sangma who was from Meghalaya. Minister of State Rajiv Shukla, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, is a Congress Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra.
Though there are as many as 16 Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha from Maharashtra, the party has not included a single minister from the state in the exercise.
This was despite the fact that there have been three vacancies from the state following the death of Vilasrao Deshmukh and resignation of Mukul Wasnik besides Prithviraj Chavan being made the Chief Minister.
Sushilkumar Shinde, Milind Deora and Pratik Patil represent Congress in the Cabinet from Maharashtra, while Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and Tariq Anwar are ministers from NCP. Congress has not got a single representative in the Cabinet from either Marathwada or Vidarbha region.
Arunachal Pradesh got a representation in the government with Ninong Ering getting a berth.
With the exit of Subodh Kant Sahai, there is no representative of Jharkhand in the ministry. The resignation of Agatha Sangma and Vincent Pala has put Meghalaya in the same category.
Goa is not having a minister at the Centre for the last over six years. Manipur is also in the same bracket.
AP now adequately represented: Pallam Raju
The reshuffle of the council of ministers has given ample representation to Andhra Pradesh, M. Pallam Raju, who was made the new human resource development minister, said.
“People of Andhra Pradesh were feeling let down that it was not being adequately represented (in council of ministers). I think now it is being rectified and I thank Sonia (Gandhi) ‘ji’ and the prime minister for that,” Mr. Raju, a Congress MP from Kakinada in coastal Andhra Pradesh, said after being sworn in as cabinet minister.
Andhra Pradesh, a crucial state electorally for the Congress, got maximum representation of six in the rejig of the council of ministers, with five new faces and one elevated to the cabinet rank.
Mr. Raju has been elevated to the cabinet rank from being a minister of state for defence.
Mr. Raju credited the changes to Rahul Gandhi, saying he always wanted young representation.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) was always keen that younger representation to be brought in the cabinet. Now I think it is for us to prove the faith reposed on us,” Mr. Raju told CNN-IBN news channel.
Asked about his new role, Mr. Raju said: “I think Kapil Sibal has done good work and that needs to be carried forward”.
Telugu actor-turned politician K. Chiranjeevi, who merged his Praja Rajyam Party’s 18 MLAs with the Congress last year, has become a minister of state with independent charge.
Others from Andhra Pradesh to be inducted as ministers of state are Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy from Kurnool, Sarve Satyanarayana from Malkajgiri, Porika Balram Naik from Mahabubabad and Killi Kruparani from Srikakulam.