Jana, Diwakar, Kasu, Damodar dropped
HYDERABAD: A 35-member Council of Ministers of the newly-elected Congress government was sworn in by Andhra Pradesh Governor N. D. Tiwari in the presence of Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and a host of dignitaries on the lawns of Raj Bhavan on Monday evening.
Fourteen of the 18 members of the dissolved Cabinet, who won the election, found a place in the new team, but the Chief Minister sprang a surprise by leaving out four colleagues -- K. Jana Reddy, J. C. Diwakar Reddy, Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy and R. Damodar Reddy – for different reasons..
Of the remaining 21, all are greenhorns except Gade Venkata Reddy and P. Balaraju, who have ministerial exposure. In his first term in 2004, Dr. Reddy inducted 24 MLAs and later expanded his Cabinet to accommodate six of his electoral ally, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). The portfolios are expected to be announced on Tuesday.
In constituting the Cabinet, the Chief Minister sent out a strong signal that it is primarily his own team that has the Congress high command’s approval. Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister consulted AICC president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi about the composition of his Council of Ministers. After receiving the green signal from her, Dr. Reddy rushed back to the State capital by a special flight and submitted the list of Ministers to the Governor in the afternoon.
There was a huge turnout at the 70-minute-long oath-taking function. Some Ministers like Ponnala Lakshmaiah and M. Mukesh Goud had to alight from their cars and walk to the Raj Bhavan due to the traffic jam. Mr. Diwakar Reddy and Mr. Krishna Reddy were also spotted, the former walking down from his residence next door.
Veteran of several legislative battles and now an MLC, 76-year-old Konijeti Rosaiah is the only member of the Upper House to find a place in the Cabinet.
The remaining team is a blend of experience and youth with Gade Venkata Reddy (70) being the senior most and D. Sridhar Babu (38) the youngest.
Barring Adilabad, MLAs from all the districts, including Nizamabad where the party won a lone seat found representation in the Cabinet. Guntur and Medak districts have higher representation with four and three Ministers respectively reflecting the party’s good performance there.
Exactly half the Ministers, including Dr. Reddy himself, belong to either the backward classes, SCs, STs or minorities.
As many as six women – J. Geetha Reddy, P. Sabitha Indra Reddy, Galla Aruna Kumari, Konda Surekha, V. Sunitha Lakshma Reddy and D. K. Aruna — find a place in the Ministry.
Immediately after the swearing-in, the Chief Minister convened the first meeting of the Cabinet ahead of his departure to Jerusalem on Tuesday on a pilgrimage along with family members.
The meeting was held primarily for the Ministers to get to know one another and for entrusting Mr. Rosaiah the responsibility of keeping him posted with administrative and political developments during his visit abroad.