All 34 members of the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Cabinet fell in line and took the oath of office and secrecy as Ministers on Sunday after the Congress leadership in New Delhi made it clear it would not brook any show of dissidence.
Six Ministers, who earlier threatened to keep away from the swearing-in ceremony changed their mind, turned up at the Raj Bhavan and took the oath along with others at 4 p.m. after their names were read out as the ‘Minister-designates.’ They later posed for the customary photograph with the Governor and Chief Minister.
At a simple ceremony held in the Durbar Hall, Andhra Pradesh Governor N. D. Tiwari administered the oath to the 34 Ministers collectively. It was one of the shortest swearing-in ceremonies lasting barely two minutes and witnessed by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, Council Chairman A. Chakrapani, and Assembly Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, among others. All the Ministers retained the portfolios they held in the YSR Cabinet. The motion of going through the swearing-in ceremony was a sequel to the Chief Secretary’s recommendation, based on legal opinion, that Article 164 of the Constitution required members of the YSR Cabinet to take the oath once again if they were to continue as Ministers.
The swearing-in climaxed a day-long political drama of Congress leaders, including MPs and MLAs, openly pushing the case for anointing YSR’s son, Jagan Mohan Reddy, as Chief Minister. N. Raghuveera Reddy, Konda Surekha, Sunita Laxma Reddy, Anam Ramnarayan Reddy, P. Ramachandra Reddy and Danam Nagender had even refused to take oath unless Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy was made the Chief Minister.
AICC general secretary M. Veerappa Moily called on party president Sonia Gandhi and briefed her about the refusal of some Ministers to join the Rosaiah Cabinet. The high command immediately cracked the whip and Mr. Moily telephoned K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, Rajya Sabha member and a close aide of late YSR, to make it clear that such pressure tactics would not work.