Hyderabad: Finally, a muhurat has been set for the much-awaited expansion of the state Cabinet.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday decided to expand his Cabinet on February 19, Magha Shuddha Pournami, an auspicious day according to the Telugu calendar. Mr Rao met Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan on Friday afternoon and conveyed his decision to expand the Cabinet.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office, the swearing-in will take place at 11.30 am.
Mr Rao instructed officers concerned to make arrangements for the swearing-in ceremony.
Mr Rao’s decision to expand the Cabinet comes a day after it was announced that the state's vote-on-account Budget would take be tabled on February 22.
Questions were raised as to who would present the Budget speech in the absence of a finance minister. With the announcement of the Cabinet expansion date, speculation has risen in the party about probables who will get berths and the number of MLAs who will be inducted.
According to party sources, Mr Rao was likely to induct 10 ministers, against the maximum limit of 18 ministers including the CM which constitutes 15 per cent of the Assembly strength of 119 members.
Party cadres are confident that Mr Rao will induct his nephew and senior MLA T. Harish Rao in his Cabinet in view of rumours that he was sidelined after the TRS returned to power. Senior leaders close to Mr Rao are said to have advised him to take Mr Harish Rao on board, to put an end to speculation.
Sources pointed out that Mr Rao was not likely to induct party working president and son K.T. Rama Rao as he had to allocate more time to prepare the cadre for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. But some party leaders feel that Mr Rao would induct his son if Mr Harish Rao was made a minsiter.
Those apart, the Chief Minister was likely to induct former ministers like Mr Etala Rajendar, Mr Jagadishwar Reddy, A. Indra Karan Reddy, Mr Jogu Ramanna and Mr Kadiyam Srihari.
Under the ST quota, either Mr Redya Nayak or Ms Rekha Nayak and under the SC quota, either Mr Koppula Eswar or Mr Kale Yadaiah were likely to get a chance.
Mr Rao was likely to pick any of the following legislators — Mr E. Dayakar Rao, Mr V. Prashanth Reddy, Mr D. Vinay Bhaskar, Mr P. Narender Reddy, Ms Gongidi Sunitha, Mr M. Kishan Reddy and Mr Niranjan Reddy – under the freshers’ quota.
Party sources said Khammam district would get representation in the Cabinet only after the Lok Sabha elections.