Kiran Reddy inducts two ministers, drops one

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Thursday carried out a minor reshuffle of his cabinet, inducting two legislators from the erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) and dropping a controversial minister.

C. Ramachandraiah and G. Srinivasa Rao were sworn in as cabinet  ministers by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at a brief ceremony at Raj Bhavan. The chief minister later recommended to the governor that Textile Minister Shankar Rao be dropped from the cabinet. A statement from the Chief  Minister's Office said the governor has accepted the recommendation.

The chief minister will look after the textile portfolio till  alternate arrangements are made. Shankar Rao, who was made a minister in December 2010, has been openly criticising the chief minister and making allegations against his cabinet colleagues.

The PRP, which merged with the ruling Congress last year, has finally found a place in the cabinet with the induction of its two  legislators. The portfolios of the two ministers are likely to be  announced later in the day.

Besides the chief minister, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar  Rajanarasimha, Congress secretary K.B. Krishnamurthy, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi were among the ministers, MPs and officials who attended the swearing-in ceremony.

Kiran Kumar Reddy wanted to go for a major reshuffle and full-fledged expansion but the central leadership decided to limit the exercise for the moment to the induction of the PRP legislators. Several Congress leaders, especially from the Telangana region, had been lobbying for the ministries for the last few days in New Delhi.

Two ministers from Telangana had resigned last year to protest the  delay in formation of separate Telangana state. Shankar Rao also hails from Telangana region. Krishnamurthy told reporters that the imbalance would be corrected  soon. "We have a plan ready for this and we will implement it," he said. 

Kiran Kumar Reddy reportedly wanted to drop Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana in line with one-man-one-post principle and also a couple of others, but the leadership advised him not go for major reshuffle until the coming by-elections to 24 assembly seats and a decision on Telangana.

The induction of two ministers has taken the strength of the Kiran  Kumar Reddy cabinet to 37. This is the second expansion since he  became the chief minister in November 2010. Ramachandraiah, a member of the legislative council, comes from Kadapa district in Rayalaseema region. Srinivasa Rao hails from coastal Andhra. Both quit the Telugu Desam Party in 2009 to join the PRP floated by actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.

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