Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has set two new trends while constituting a 25-member cabinet on Saturday (June 8).
Firstly, he appointed five Deputy Chief Ministers in his team, the highest for any state cabinet in the country. Secondly, he has set a rotational system for a majority of his cabinet colleagues by announcing that 90 per cent of them would be replaced with new faces after two-and-half years. The replaced ministers will be entrusted with party work.
The new ministers were sworn-in at the temporary secretariat complex in Velagapudi near Vijayawada. Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan administered them the oath of office and secrecy.
In an unprecedented move, Jagan included five Deputy Chief Ministers, each representing the OBCs, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, minorities and Kapu communities. They are Pushpa Srivani, Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, Alla Nani, Narayana Swamy and Amjad Bhasha.
The Chief Minister sought to strike a social balance by giving representation to various castes in his team. Nearly 60 per cent of the ministers belong to weaker sections and the cabinet also comprises of three women ministers. M Sucharita, a 41-year-old legislator from Prattipadu in Guntur district, will be the first woman home minister of the residuary Andhra Pradesh.
The new cabinet comprises eight minsters from the Backward Classes, five from the Scheduled Caste community, four each from the Reddy and Kapu communities and one each from ST, Kamma, Kshatriya and Vysya communities.
The team represents a blend of fresh faces and veteran politicians, with loyalty being the key consideration. While six ministers had earlier served in the cabinet of Jaganmohan’s father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, all others are first-time ministers.
The swearing in ceremony began at 11.49 am, the auspicious time set by the Chief Minister’s advisors.
Jagan Mohan brought back veterans like Botsa Satyanarayana, Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, Pinipe Viswaroop, Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao, Balineni Srinivasa Reddy and Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy, who all had worked as ministers in the YSR cabinet in the combined Andhra Pradesh.
Once jailed, now a minister
Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao, while serving as a minister in the then Congress government headed by Kiran Kumar Reddy, was arrested in 2012 in connection with the disproportionate assets case against Jaganmohan and was jailed for several months.
He lost the recent Assembly election from Repalle constituency in Guntur district but got a cabinet berth and will be nominated to the Legislative Council.
East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna districts, where the YSRC bagged sizeable number of seats, got three Cabinet berths each. Kurnool, Chittoor, SPS Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Vizianagaram districts got two each while Anantapuram, Kadapa, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam got one each.
Meanwhile, G Srikanth Reddy, one of the legislators considered close to Jaganmohan, who could not be accommodated in the cabinet because of caste calculations, has been appointed as the Government Chief Whip in the Assembly with a Cabinet rank.
Jaganmohan, who steered his YSR Congress party to a landslide victory in the April 11 Assembly elections, was sworn-in as the Chief Minister on May 30.
The YSRCP bagged 151 seats in the 175-member Assembly while Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) managed to win 23 and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena could win just one seat.
The two national parties — Congress and BJP — drew blank, both in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
Promising to usher in a new era of ‘transparent and corruption-free governance”, Jagan Mohan said a judicial commission, headed by a sitting high court judge, would be constituted to examine all the mega projects, which will ensure transparency. “We will call for tenders for these projects only after the commission gives the green signal,” he said.
“We will set a role model for the rest of the country in providing a transparent and corruption-free governance,” the Chief Minister said and asked the party MLAs to be careful in handling public grievances as the people were closely watching the performance of the new government.