The Telangana Chief Minister is likely to induct eight to 10 ministers in the first phase.

 

Hyderabad: After several postponements, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is going to expand his single minister Cabinet on 19 February. In the Cabinet formation, which is happening 66 days after he took oath as the Chief Minister on 13 December, KCR is likely to induct eight to 10 ministers in the first phase. He said he would go for another expansion after the Lok Sabha elections.

KCR came in for criticism from different quarters for running the government with a single minister–Mohammed Mahmood Ali (Home)–for over two months. The Opposition Congress even made an appeal to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to instruct the CM to form a Cabinet so that routine administration can function smoothly.

KCR went to Raj Bhavan on Friday and informed the Governor of his plans to expand the Cabinet at 11.30 am on Tuesday, which is auspicious as it falls on “Magha Poornima”. The Governor’s office in a press release said that arrangements were being made for swearing-in of the new ministers at the Raj Bhavan. It is not specified how many will take oath on the day.

Now all eyes are on the induction of KCRs’ son and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) and his nephew and former minister T. Harish Rao. In political circles, these two are seen as future power centers in the ruling TRS and it is widely speculated that the Chief Minister would pave way for a possible elevation of his son KTR in near future.

Harish Rao, who held the high profile irrigation portfolio in the previous Cabinet, has been re-elected with a record majority of 1.12 lakh majority in the 7 December Assembly polls last year. There is some speculation that Harish Rao would be fielded for Lok Sabha elections from Medak constituency, though he is a front-runner in Tuesday’s reshuffle. Harish Rao made it clear that he would abide by the CM’s decision on his future.

Even on KTR’s inclusion, there are different versions making rounds in the circles close to the CM. One is that the TRS working president would be taken as minister in the first expansion and another is that he would be taken into the Cabinet only after the Lok Sabha elections in view of his responsibilities to ensure victory to TRS in 16 out of 17 MP seats as the party leaves Hyderabad seat to its ally, AIMIM.

There were 18 ministers in the previous Cabinet and four of them had lost the elections. Pocharam Srinivas Reddy, who held the agriculture portfolio, has been made the Speaker of the Assembly and Mahmood Ali has been made a minister. So the fate of 12 former ministers hangs in balance. Of them, former deputy CM Kadiam Srihari is an MLC while the others are MLAs.

KCR is expected to bring major changes in his new Cabinet with a majority of them being new faces, closer to KTR. New faces include: Koppula Eswar, Errab elli Dayakar Rao, S. Niranjan Reddy, V. Prashant Reddy, Rekha Naik or D.S. Reddya Naik, Gutta Sukhender Reddy, Bajireddy Goverdhan are probables. Former ministers Etele Rajender, Talasani Srinivasa Yadav, Jagadeswar Reddy and Kadiam Srihari, too, are being considered for a second term in the Cabinet. KCR is planning to appoint eight to 12 Parliamentary Secretaries to accommodate the first timer MLAs. As the Assembly budget session is being held from 22-25 February, the CM will also pick up a Deputy Speaker, a chief whip and three whips.

 

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