At Long Last, Cabinet Expansion on Feb 19, Suspense continues on Number of Ministers

Hyderabad: The long awaited State Cabinet expansion will take place on February 19. The Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has decided to expand the state cabinet, putting an end to the repeated speculations on the issue.

The Chief Minister had a meeting with the Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan today afternoon at Raj Bhavan and conveyed his decision to expand the Cabinet. February 19, according to Lunar Calendar being Magha Shuddha Pournami, is considered an auspicious day. The swearing-in of new Ministers is slated to take place at 11.30 am on that day. The Chief Minister instructed the officers concerned to make arrangements for the swearing in ceremony of new Ministers on February 19, said a press release from CMO.

While the time and date for the Ministry expansion was announced, there was no indication as to how many Ministers will be included in the Cabinet now, and whether there will be another expansion after the Lok Sabha elections. Sources, however, said that KCR might induct six or eight Ministers at present, and have full Ministry only after the Lok Sabha elections to be held in March, April t this year. There is also suspense over the induction of his son K T Rama Rao, who was recently appointed as Working President of TRS, and his nephew T Harish Rao.

Along with the Cabinet expansion on February 19, the Chief Minister is likely to take a final call on selection of Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Chief Whip and Whips. It may be recalled that KCR had taken oath as Chief Minister on December 12, along with a lone Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali, after the TRS got a massive victory in the Assembly elections. He is inducting some more Ministers now, after a lapse of two months, and during this period, the media had come out with speculation on cabinet expansion on many occasions.

The names of Koppula Eshwar, Gutha Sukender Reddy, Redya Naik, Padma Devender Reddy, Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Thalasani Srinivas Yadav, Etela Rajender, KTR, and T Harish Rao are mentioned as probable Ministers.

The chief Minister decided on Ministry expansion on February 19, as the Budget Session of the Legislature is scheduled to commence on February 22. The Budget will be presented at 11.30 am on that day.

[source_without_link]NSS [/source_without_link]