Ending over two months of speculation, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday expanded his two-member Cabinet with induction of ten members. Six new faces -- S Niranjan Reddy, Koppula Eashwar, Errabelli Dayakar Rao, V Srinivas Goud, Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Ch Malla Reddy -- found berth in the Council of Ministers.
A Indrakaran Reddy, Talasani Srinivas Yadav, G Jagadish Reddy and Etela Rajender, who were part of the Cabinet in Rao's previous term, returned as ministers. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E S L Narasimhan administered them the oath of office and secrecy at Raj Bhavan, in the presence of the chief minister, taking the Cabinet size to 12. The Chief Minister's nephew and senior TRS leader T Harish Rao, who earlier served as Irrigation Minister, did not figure in the list, as also the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) supremo's son K T Rama Rao.
None of the woman members could make it to the Council of Ministers. Rao's first Cabinet also did not have a woman minister. Rama Rao was appointed as TRS Working President, a day after the Chief Minister assumed charge for the second term on December 13 after the party returned to power with a thumping majority in the 119-member Assembly. Along with the chief minister, Mohammed Mahmood Ali had also been sworn in, and he was allotted Home portfolio.
The "delay" in Cabinet expansion had drawn fire from opposition parties who contended that it amounted "violation" of constitutional norms and had hit administration. However, rejecting the charge, the ruling TRS said a high-level committee had looked into ways to streamline the entire administration by bringing together connected departments under one ministry and the exercise took time. Last week, the chief minister fixed Tuesday for the Cabinet expansion, as it is an "auspicious day" being "Magha Shuddha Pournami" as per the Lunar calendar.
(With inputs from agencies.)