As the budget session of the legislature is coming to an end next week, Congress legislators are anxiously awaiting the maiden reshuffle of the Cabinet by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah.
After Mr. Rosaiah dropped hints of his proposed visit to New Delhi after the Assembly session, the hopes of wannabe Ministers have gone up. Some hopefuls have already begun hosting dinners for party leaders. It is not clear whether the Chief Minister would merely induct new members into his Cabinet or reshuffle the team by dropping some Ministers.
As the permissible strength of the Cabinet is 43 (11 per cent of the membership of the legislature), there is scope for inducting nine Ministers to the current 34-member team. From veterans to first-timers, everyone is now eyeing a Cabinet berth. Seniors like J. C. Diwakar Reddy, K. Jana Reddy, Marri Sashidhar Reddy and Kasu Venkatakrishna Reddy are meeting him with unfailing regularity.
First-time Congress MLAs met Mr. Rosaiah on Thursday urging him to consider them in the reshuffle. In a letter submitted to him, two dozen MLAs expressed their interest to work under his leadership, given his vast experience as an administrator.
Tension has gripped some Ministers considered close to YSR and now his son Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy. Against the backdrop of the growing chasm between Mr. Rosaiah and Mr. Jagan, some YSR loyalists fear they may be dropped for making critical remarks against the Chief Minister.
Party legislators opine that the Chief Minister may confine himself to expanding his team rather than dropping a few Ministers and opening a Pandora's Box.
Doubts are also being raised whether an invitation would be extended to YSR's widow Vijayalakshmi or MLC Y. S. Vivekananda Reddy to join the Cabinet.
Given the regional and caste equations, Mr. Rosaiah will have to do some tight-rope walking in choosing the incumbents.
Leaders from Telangana are talking about fulfilling the Gentlemen's Agreement by increasing their strength from 13 to 17 (40 per cent).