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39 sworn in as Ministers; 28 retained in Kiran Cabinet

Special Correspondent



NEW ROLE: Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan administering the oath to Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy (left) at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy looks on.

HYDERABAD: A majority of the Ministers (28) who served in the Rosaiah government were retained by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy in his 39-member Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

Mr. Kiran deferred a decision on the Deputy Chief Minister because of reported lobbying by Telangana leaders. He is expected to announce the name in three or four days once the Congress party selects its nominee for the post of Speaker and the Pradesh Congress Committee president. These posts are being treated as part of a political package to strike a balance between the Andhra and Telangana regions.

The Chief Minister has retained two important portfolios – Commercial Taxes and Energy – and entrusted to P. Sabita Indra Reddy her old portfolio – Home. Anam Ramnarayan Reddy is the new Finance Minister, 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), D. Sridhar Babu (Civil Supplies) and Ponnala Lakshmaiah (Information Technology).

The team, whose large size exceeded earlier expectations, was sworn in by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at the fully decked-up lawns of the Raj Bhavan. The Chief Minister kept out hardcore loyalists of rebel Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy -- Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, Pilli Subash Chandra Bose, and a close follower of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, C. Shilpa Mohan Reddy.

Two other Ministers in the Rosaiah government who could not find place were 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 aggressive Jagan factor, the high command's cautious approach to stem dissidence and political compulsion of maintaining regional and caste balance.

The most significant inclusion was that of Mr. Vivekananda Reddy, the estranged uncle of Mr. Jagan.

There were murmurs of protests from some MLAs, notably from 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 from16) and eight from Rayalaseema (up from five earlier).

Eleven of the new Ministers were not part of Rosaiah's Cabinet, though four of them -- K. Jana Reddy, D.L. Ravindra Reddy, Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy and P. Shankar Rao -- have served as Ministers earlier.

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.

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