35-member cabinet takes oath in Andhra Pradesh

May 26th, 2009 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Hyderabad, May 25 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Monday constituted a 35-member cabinet, inducting 20 new faces and dropping four ministers who were part of his earlier ministry.
Governor N.D. Tiwari administered the oath to the ministers, including six women, at a ceremony held at Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor.

YSR, who took oath as the chief minister for the second consecutive term May 20 following the Congress’ victory in the assembly elections, included 15 ministers who had served in his previous ministry.

The ministry is, thus, a mix of experience and youth. Ninteen of the new faces in the YSR cabinet have become ministers for the first time while Gade Venkat Reddy, senior legislator from Guntur district, had served as a minister in the past.

YSR dropped four ministers including senior leaders K. Jana Reddy and J.C. Diwakar Reddy who held the portfolios of home and panchayat raj.

Senior leader K. Rosaiah, who served as finance minister in the earlier cabinet, is the only one to be inducted from the legislative council. All others are members of the state assembly.

Mohammed Ahmedullah is the lone Muslim minister in the new cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony was held after YSR returned from New Delhi where he held consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders.

YSR, the first Congress chief minister to retain power in three decades, was given a free hand by the central leadership in constituting the cabinet as he preferred those loyal to him.

The omission of Jana Reddy, Diwakar Reddy and Kasu Venkatakrishna Reddy from the list of probables came as a shock to them.

R. Damodar Reddy, who was IT minister in earlier cabinet, has been replaced by his brother R. Venkat Reddy.

The prominent ministers who were retained include Dharmana Prasad Rao, Botsa Satyanarayana, Raghuveera Reddy, P. Lakshma Reddy, G. Aruna Kumari, S. Vijayrama Raju and J. Geeta Reddy.

The selection of ministers was a tough task for the chief minister as 14 members of his previous ministry were defeated in the elections. They included two Muslim ministers.

YSR tried a balancing act by giving proper representation to the regions and various castes. Sixteen ministers are from coastal Andhra, 14 from Telangana and five from Rayalaseema. Out of 23 districts, Adilabad was the only one which has no representation in the new cabinet.

The new ministers include 11 from Reddys, 10 from backward classes, four from Scheduled Castes, three from Kapus, one from a Scheduled Tribe and one Kamma.

Four ministers took oath in English while all others preferred Telugu, the official language of the state. While all ministers took oath only in the name of god, Raghuveera Reddy took oath in the name of god and his parents.

YSR did not induct those elected to the assembly for the first time. Congress sources said he may go for another cabinet expansion after a year as the cabinet can have 42 members.

The Congress party retained power in the assembly elections by bagging 156 seats in 294-member house. It also won 33 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

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