All eyes on Chandrasekhar Rao's Cabinet expansion

As Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao prepares to expand his cabinet more than two months after taking over for a second term, the focus is now on who would be part of the ministry. PTI file photo

As Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao prepares to expand his cabinet more than two months after taking over for a second term, the focus is now on who would be part of the ministry.

Putting an end to opposition criticism (for not having a full Cabinet) and protracted speculation, KCR would induct new members into his council of ministers on February 19.

After his partys (TRS) spectacular victory in the December 7 assembly elections, Rao assumed office as Chief Minister for a second straight term on December 13. Mohd Mehmood Ali was the only minister to take oath along with him.

The focus now would be on the composition of the expanded ministry. With Rao's son K T Rama Rao having been appointed working president of the TRS, it remains to be seen whether he would be part of the Cabinet.

The suave Rama Rao, who held a number of portfolios including municipal administration, IT, industries and others, had been credited with creating a pro-development image for the TRS government, especially in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits. As many as 24 assembly segments fall under the limits of GHMC.

As the working president of TRS, Rama Rao would have the task of playing a key role in ensuring victory for his party in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Advocating a non-Congress, non-BJP front at the national level, TRS had already sought 16 out of the total 17 Lok Sabha seats (leaving the Hyderabad seat represented by AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi) to ensure a better deal for Telangana post the elections.

The focus is also on T Harish Rao, a nephew of the chief minister, who, as irrigation minister, was instrumental in steering the ambitious irrigation projects like Kaleswaram taken up by the TRS government.

There is also speculation over whether ministers in the previous government would make it to the Cabinet this time or whether Rao would like to have fresh faces.

Though KCR has been conducting official reviews on various issues, the absence of a full Cabinet led to opposition criticism from the opposition Congress, BJP and others.

"It's a constitutional violation," Congress spokesperson Sravan Dasoju had said on the "delay" in constituting a full-fledged Cabinet.

"There is zero governance, defunct bureaucracy and complete anarchy in the state. Thousands of files have piled up and the budget is yet to be presented," Dasoju had said.

Telangana BJP president K Laxman also hit out at the TRS government. "This is Nizam-like rule," he had said."With no minister to take care of the administration, files are accumulating in hundreds," Laxman alleged.

The ruling TRS said a government-appointed committee tasked to look into ways to streamline the entire administration by bringing together connected departments under one minister has completed its exercise.

"That exercise took a lot of time. Very shortly, the Cabinet will be formed based on the exercise," TRS spokesperson Abid Rasool Khan said earlier.

The ruling TRS, during its previous stint, had faced flak for not giving representation to women in the cabinet.

The Congress and other opposition parties had dubbed the failure to include women in the cabinet as being anti-women.

This would also be watched when the state cabinet is expanded this week. 

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All eyes on Chandrasekhar Rao's Cabinet expansion

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