The new Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, began his innings on Thursday by outlining his top priorities as transparent governance and tough action against violators of law and order.
He declared that he would short-list 10 to 12 welfare programmes like the public distribution system, scholarships for the poor, and employment guarantee, and introduce new delivery systems, plug leakages and monitor them strictly through select Ministers and officials.
Addressing journalists after taking over, Mr. Reddy said he would act “very strongly” against those breaching law and order as he wanted Hyderabad City and Andhra Pradesh to become the most favoured investment destinations.
Mr. Reddy, who has been handpicked by the Congress high command, said it would be his endeavour to fulfil YSR's last political wish to win 41 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh in the 2014 elections so that Rahul Gandhi became Prime Minister.
At a brief function on the Raj Bhavan lawns earlier, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Reddy after he resigned as Assembly Speaker. AICC observers – Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, outgoing Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, former Ministers and MLAs attended the function.
Asked to respond to threats held out by pro-Telangana outfits to disrupt the administration after December 31, Mr. Reddy said the Srikrishna Committee had been appointed to look into the issue. It was for the Centre to take a decision with which he would fully abide.
Mr. Reddy, a loyalist of the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, said he had no differences with Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and would take him along in the task of fulfilling YSR's aspirations. He also reached out to Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu and other Opposition leaders when he sought their cooperation for all-round progress of the State.
The Chief Minister is expected to leave for New Delhi in a day or two for consultations with the high command on constituting his Cabinet. Mr. Moily said he had been given a free hand to choose his Council of Ministers though the Deputy Chief Minister would be from Telangana.
Immediately after he was sworn in, Mr. Reddy drove to the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences to call on patients receiving treatment under Rajiv Arogyasri, a health insurance programme for the poor introduced by YSR.