Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) expanded his Council of Ministers on Sunday. While former minister and KCR’s son KT Rama Rao and nephew Harish Rao were inducted into the cabinet, four new faces including two women were accommodated. The four new ministers are Sabitha Indra Reddy, Gangula Kamalakar, Satyavati Rathod and Puvvada Ajay Kumar. With their induction, the Council of Ministers has now increased to 17 from 11. Sabitha and Satyavati are the only two women in KCR’s cabinet. All six ministers were sworn in on Sunday.
This is first expansion after 11 members were inducted into the Telangana cabinet this February.
K Tarakarama Rao (KTR), who was left out of the cabinet after TRS returned to power in December 2018, has been made Minister of IT, Municipal Administration and Urban Development. These were very same portfolios KTR handled during KCR’s first term. As IT Minister, KTR is credited with bringing several industrial and IT projects to the state of Telangana. Following TRS’s sweep in the 2018 polls, he was made working president of the party following the elections
In 2009, KTR made his electoral debut, winning from Siricilla. KTR went on to win in 2014 elections as well, while the 2018 polls saw him win with a margin over 1 lakh votes. KCR, however, chose to depute him to party affairs following TRS’s thumping win. Harish Rao has been made Finance Minister. He was former irrigation minister between 2014 and 2018.
A protégé of KCR and the founding member of TRS, Harish Rao has never lost an election and was elected MLA from Siddipet for the sixth consecutive time.
Harish Rao is credited with being the driving force behind the commissioning of the ambitious Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, during his previous tenure. Though the leader enjoys a strong support among TRS cadre, there has been speculation of a rift between cousins KTR and Harish Rao. While Harish was touted to be the immediate successor to KCR, KTR’s return from US in 2006 and entry into politics shifted the narrative.
However the two leaders have dismissed the speculations as rumours, with both reiterating that they ‘grew up as brothers’. KTR and Harish Rao's re-induction is being dubbed as the CM's attempt to rejuvenate the government while the induction of fresh faces is seen as a pacification of the respective communities they hail from.
Sabitha Indra Reddy, a former stalwart of Telangana Congress, has been allocated the Education portfolio, which was earlier vested with G Jagadish Reddy. Jagadish has been made Energy Minister. Jagadish had come under fire earlier this year following the Intermediate (+2 ) results. Around 20 students killed themselves following alleged mismanagement and flaws in the results. Several student groups and opposition parties had sought his resignation.
Sabitha had defected along with her son Karthik Reddy to the ruling party in March this year. A key leader in Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad, Sabitha Reddy was Home Minister in the YS Rajasekhara Reddy government. She was elected from Maheswaram Assembly constituency on a Congress ticket last year.
Sabitha entered politics after her husband’s death in 2000, and has held multiple portfolios in the state cabinet in her political career spanning almost two decades.
Gangula Kamalakar, a three-time MLA from Karimnagar, has been allocated BC Welfare, Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. Gangula hails from Munnuru Kapu community, which is having a significant populace in the Karimnagar and Nizamabad belt.Nizamabad MP and daughter of KCR K Kavita lost her seat to BJP's Arvind Dharmapuri, who also comes from Munnuru Kapu community.
TRS's Vinod Kumar who was Karimnagar MP lost to BJP's Bandi Sanjay, who is also from Munnuru Kapu community, in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
Etela Rajendar, who is already holding the portfolio of Health and Family Welfare also heads the Huzurabad constituency in Karimnagar.
Satyavati Rathod, another woman MLC hailing from the Tribal community has also been made Minister for ST Welfare and Women and Child Welfare. Satyavati started off her political career as Sarpanch of Gundratimadugu of Khammam 1996.
Puvvada Ajay Kumar, the MLA of Palair constituency, has been given Transport. Belonging to a Congress family, Ajay Kumar is said to be close to the party working president KTR. The Ministers oath taking ceremony held in the presence of Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and CM KCR along with senior officers and Ministers.