Two women were among six new ministers inducted by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in a Cabinet expansion on Sunday. This is the first time women have been inducted in the Telangana Cabinet since the state was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
The Cabinet expansion, which comes nine months after Rao won a second term in office, also saw the appointment of his son K T Rama Rao and nephew T Harish Rao as ministers.
Bid to prevent factional feud
The induction of KCR's nephew T Harish Rao into the Cabinet is significant because he had been sidelined within the party after the TRS returned to power. While elevating his son K T Rama Rao as working president of TRS, KCR kept both KTR and Harish out of cabinet so that there is no rebellion from TRS leaders close to Harish. However, the faction was unhappy at Harish being sidelined. At a time when the BJP is trying to make inroads into Telangana, appointing Harish a minister is KCR's attempt to ensure that the party is not weakened by factionalism. He has balanced it by the induction of his son KTR.
Harish Rao has been given the portfolio of Finance and K T Rama Rao got Municipal Administration and Urban Development, IT and Industries, which he held in the previous term. KTR will also remain the working president of the TRS.
The six new ministers were sworn-in by the new Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundarajan at Raj Bhavan at 4 pm. Earlier in the day, Soundarajan took charge as Governor after arriving from Chennai.
Maheshwaram MLA Sabita Indra Reddy, who defected from the Congress, has been allotted the Education portfolio. Reddy was Home Minister in the YSR government. Member of Legislative Council from Warangal, Satyavathi Rathod, is the other woman who has been made minister and allotted ST Welfare, Women and Child Development portfolio.
P Ajay Kumar, MLA from Khamma and G Kamalakar Reddy from Karimnagar are the two others who were sworn in on Sunday.
With the induction of the six ministers, the Cabinet now has reached its full strength of 18. After the swearing-in of the six new ministers, a Cabinet meeting was held at the office-cum-residence of KCR, Pragati Bhavan, to discuss the budget and approve it for presentation in the Assembly on Monday when the session begins.
KCR is also expected to appoint 12 MLAs as chairpersons of various corporations. “The Chief Minister decided to give higher posts to senior party leaders who have lost the last elections such as Madhusudhanachary and Jupally Krishna Rao. Others may be given Rajya Sabha membership; some will get the TSRTC and Rythu Coordination Committee Chairmanship. The Chief Minister is preparing an action plan to not only strengthen the state’s administration but also make the party emerge as the most formidable force. He also decided to appoint the party committees and complete the construction of the party offices in the state,” a party leader said.
“KCR is making a plan to strengthen both the party and government,’’ the leader added.