Expected to induct 8-10 faces ,apart from 6-8 Parliamentary Secretaries.

 

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is likely to expand his single minister Cabinet on 18 January. He is expected to induct eight to 10 faces in the Cabinet, along with six to eight Parliamentary Secretaries. While seniors will be made ministers, first-timers would be taken into as Parliamentary Secretaries.

KCR has set a muhurth (auspicious time) to fill all important posts only after Sankranti, that is on 14-15 January, considered to be the beginning of the auspicious period. After winning the Assembly elections on 11 December last year, KCR was sworn in as the Chief Minister along with only one minister—Mohammad Mahmood Ali, who got the Home portfolio on 13 December. The Telangana Assembly session will be held from 17 to 20 January.

As per the norms of the administrative reforms panel, Telangana, with 120 MLAs (including one nominated MLA from the Anglo-Indian community), can only have 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Now that TRS has won 88 seats and two Independents have joined it later, KCR is finding it difficult to accommodate many seniors and first-timers who defeated many senior Congress leaders.

KCR will also have to select candidates for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, besides one Chief Whip and three whips who all enjoy Cabinet rank. In addition to this, the Chief Minister is planning to bring in an ordinance to introduce the Parliamentary Secretary system on the lines of the one in Delhi, Jharkhand and a few other states.

The problem of the Chief Minister is that he has his plate full this time as many TRS MLCs from the Legislative Council, too, are expecting ministerial berths. In the 40-member Legislative Council, TRS has 38 members, so the CM will have to consider a total 127 MLAs and MLCs from his party for a limited number of eight to 10 ministers he intends to take. The Speaker’s post falls vacant as the incumbent S. Madhusudhana Chary had lost the election from his Bhoopalapally seat, along with four ministers of the last Cabinet—Jupally Krishna Rao, Tummala Nageswara Rao, A. Chandulal and P. Mahender Reddy. Now KCR is considering promoting Deputy Speaker Padma Devender Reddy as the Speaker, but she appears to be reluctant to take it up.

KCR is keen on fielding former agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy or former finance minister Etele Rajender or Mahabubabad (ST) MLA D.S. Reddya Naik for the post; they, too, are learnt to be not interested in the post as they prefer ministerial berths.

When it comes to the formation of the Cabinet of TRS, all eyes are on two faces: KCR’s son and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) and his nephew T. Harish Rao, on whether they will be inducted or not. After KCR, these two are seen as important leaders in the ruling party, while KCR’s daughter Kavita is an MP from Nizamabad and Santosh Kumar, another nephew, an RS MP. While there is no clarity on KTR becoming a minister for the second time in his father’s Cabinet, there are mixed indications on the fate of Harish Rao, who held the major irrigation portfolio in the previous government.

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