With just a day left for the Cabinet expansion, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is believed to have narrowed down the list to about eight to 10 names of persons who will be sworn in by Governor E S L Narasimhan at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhaven on Tuesday. This will be the first Cabinet expansion after Chandrashekhar Rao and Mohammad Mahmood Ali were sworn in on December 13 after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi swept the December Assembly polls. Mahmood Ali was subsequently given the Home portfolio.
Though several names have been doing the rounds for ministerial berths, the Chief Minister is learnt to have finalised the names after seeking the opinion of senior party leaders, souces said. The Chief Minister is likely to retain former Ministers A Indra Karan Reddy (Nirmal), G Jagadish Reddy (Suryapet) and Talasani Srinivas Yadav (Sanathnagar). Among the fresh faces who are likely to be inducted into the Cabinet are former chief whip Koppula Easwar (Dharmapuri), former Vice Chairman of Telangana State Planning Board and Wanaparthy legislator S Niranjan Reddy, two-time Mahabubnagar MLA V Srinivas Goud, Errabeli Dayakar Rao (Palakurthi) and Balakonda MLA Vemula Prashanth Reddy. Secunderbad legislator T Padma Rao Goud, a former Minister, is being tipped for the Deputy Speaker’s post.
A majority of the names are said to have been finalised after taking into consideration their social background and experience besides their performance as legislators. “The Cabinet will be a mix of old and new faces. Legislators from the erstwhile districts of Medak and Khammam are unlikely to be considered for this expansion. While the TRS has only two MLAs from erstwhile Khammam district, the Chief Minister already represents erstwhile Medak district,” party sources said.
Former Finance Minister and Huzurabad MLA Etela Rajender’s name is also doing the rounds. He may, however, not make it in the first round of expansion, the sources said, adding that the Chief Minister will go in for a full-fledged Cabinet after the Parliament elections likely to be held in April-May. The State Cabinet can have a maximum of 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister, since the total number can’t exceed 15 per cent of the State Legislative Assembly strength of 119 legislators.