Keeps out Jagan loyalists; CM could not include those for whom he lobbied
A majority of the Ministers (28) who served in the Rosaiah government were retained by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy in his 39-member team on Wednesday.
Striking a balance
Surprisingly, Mr. Reddy did not name a Deputy Chief Minister. He is expected to announce the appointment in three or four days once the Congress selects its nominees for Speaker and PCC president. These posts are being considered part of a package to strike a balance between the Andhra and Telangana regions.
In the Council of Ministers, P. Sabita Indra Reddy retains the Home portfolio; Anam Ramnarayan Reddy is entrusted with Finance; N. Raghuveera Reddy, Revenue; Dharmana Prasada Rao, Roads & Buildings; Botcha Satyanarayana, Transport; Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, Agriculture; P. Sudershan Reddy, Major Irrigation; C. Damodar Rajanarasimha, Higher Education; D.L. Ravindra Reddy, Medical and Health; and Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Information Technology.
The team, whose large size exceeded expectations, was sworn in by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan on the fully decked out lawns of the Raj Bhavan here.
The Chief Minister kept out hardcore loyalists of rebel leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy — Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, Pilli Subash Chandra Bose and a close follower of the late YSR, C. Shilpa Mohan Reddy. Jagan has since left the Congress.
Two other Ministers in the Rosaiah government who could not find a place are Gade Venkat Reddy and Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, the latter because of his rivalry with the Chief Minister.
Yet, it cannot be described as a team of Mr. Kiran's choice as he could not include those for whom he lobbied hard. Apparently, his hands were tied by the Jagan factor, the high command's cautious approach to stem dissidence and the political compulsion of maintaining a regional and caste balance.
Murmurs of protest
The most significant inclusion was that of Mr. Vivekananda Reddy, estranged uncle of Jagan. There were murmurs of protests from some MLAs, notably Katasani Rambhupal Reddy (Kurnool), J.C. Diwakar Reddy (Anantapur) and R. Damodar Reddy and Uttam Kumar Reddy (both Nalgonda).
Of the 39 Ministers, 16 are from Telangana (up from 14 earlier), 15 from Andhra (down from 16) and eight from Rayalaseema (up from five). Eleven of the new Ministers were not part of the Rosaiah Cabinet, though four of them — K. Jana Reddy, D.L. Ravindra Reddy, Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy and P. Shankar Rao — served as Ministers earlier.
First time entrants
The remaining seven are first time entrants to the Cabinet — Mr. Vivekananda Reddy, Erasu Pratap Reddy, Baswaraj Saraiah, S. Shailajanath, M. Maheedhar Reddy, T.G. Venkatesh and Thota Narsimham.