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Southern States get a big share

J. Balaji

Tamil Nadu tops the list with nine Ministers, followed by Kerala


Karnataka now has four Ministers, from the three last time

MPs from Andhra Pradesh say their State does not have adequate representation


NEW DELHI: With a third of the number of new Union Ministers being accounted for by the southern States, the recent statement by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi that “North is offering, and South is growing” has seemingly been proved right.

Of the 33 Cabinet-rank Ministers, one-third are from the southern States, though Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the Union Territory of Puducherry account for only 130 out of 543 members in the Lok Sabha. Some Rajya Sabha members from the south are being inducted, too. Key portfolios such as Defence (A.K. Antony), Home (P. Chidambaram) and External Affairs (S.M. Krishna) have gone to southern representatives.

Of the total of 78 Ministers excluding the Prime Minister, who are in or are to be inducted on Thursday, 26 belong to the four southern States and Puducherry. Tamil Nadu tops the list with nine — five with Cabinet rank and four Ministers of State. Kerala follows with six — two with Cabinet rank and four Ministers of State. Andhra Pradesh has six — one with Cabinet rank, one Minister of State with independent charge and four Ministers of State. Karnataka has four — three of Cabinet rank and one Minister of State. Puducherry has one Minister of State.

During Manmohan Singh’s earlier term, Tamil Nadu, where the DMK-led allies had won all the 39 seats, had 13 Ministers in the Council with six of Cabinet rank. They included two representatives from the Pattali Makkal Katchi, an ally then. After the resignation of Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) as Cabinet Minister, Radhika Selvi (DMK) went in as a Minister of State.

Kerala’s strength has doubled to six although the number of Cabinet rank positions remain the same. This time the number of Ministers of State has gone up to four, from just one last time.

In Karnataka the situation has improved: the figure touches four compared to three last time. There were only three Ministers of State (later Minister M.H. Ambareesh resigned over the Cauvery river water row) last time, but now there are three Cabinet Ministers (Mr. Krishna, M. Veerappa Moily and Mallikarjun Kharge) and one Minister of State (K.H. Muniappa).

Disappointment

MPs from Andhra Pradesh say their State has been left without adequate representation, particularly in terms of Cabinet berths, with only S. Jaipal Reddy as one. There is one Minister of State with independent charge (Jairam Ramesh) and four Ministers of State (D. Purandeswari, Panabaka Lakshmi, A. Sai Prathap and M.M. Pallam Raju). Last time, when the Telangana Rashtra Samithi was in alliance with the Congress, the UPA’s strength from Andhra Pradesh was 34 (Congress 29, TRS five) and the State accounted for eight Ministers (two of Cabinet rank, one Minister of State with independent charge and five Ministers of State. This included two TRS representatives, one of them with Cabinet rank. This time the Congress in Andhra Pradesh returned 33 MPs out of the total 42, but got an inadequate share in the Cabinet, some Congress members feel.

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