The Andhra Pradesh cabinet was expanded Thursday with the induction of two legislators from the erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), which merged with the ruling Congress last year.
C. Ramchandraiah and G. Srinivasa Rao were sworn in as cabinet ministers by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at a brief ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, Congress secretary K.B. Krishnamurthy, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi, and several ministers, MPs and officials attended the swearing-in ceremony.
The Congress leadership Wednesday gave its nod for the expansion and for dropping textiles minister P. Shankar Rao for openly criticising the chief minister and making allegations against his cabinet colleagues.
Kiran Kumar Reddy wanted to go for a major reshuffle and full-fledged expansion but the central leadership decided to limit the exercise to the induction of the PRP legislators.
Several Congress leaders, especially from Telangana region, were lobbying for the ministries for last few days in New Delhi.
Two ministers from Telangana had resigned last year to protest the delay in formation of separate Telangana state. Shankar Rao also hails from Telangana region.
Kiran Kumar Reddy reportedly wanted to drop Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana in line with one-man-one-post principle and also a couple of others but the leadership advised him not go for major reshuffle until the coming by-elections to 24 assembly seats and a decision on Telangana.
The induction of two ministers has taken the strength of the Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet to 37. This is the second expansion since he became chief minister in November 2010.
Ramachandraiah, a member of the legislative council, comes from Kadapa district in Rayalaseema region. Srinivasa Rao hails from coastal Andhra. Both had quit Telugu Desam Party (PRP) in 2009 to join PRP floated by actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi.
This is the second time that Ramchandraiah has become a minister in the state. The 64-year-old served as a minister in N.T. Rama Rao's cabinet in 1986-88. He was also a member of Rajya Sabha for two terms.
Ramchandraiah was a bank employee before entering politics in 1981. He was elected to the assembly in 1985 and held many positions in TDP including a member of the party's politburo.
In 1991, he had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha poll from Kadapa against Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
Hailing from Prakasam district, Srinivasa Rao represents Ankapalli assembly constituency in Visakhapatnam district.
The 52-year-old began his career as an advertisement executive in a newspaper before becoming a successful businessman.
Considered a giant-killer, he joined TDP in 1999 and the same year elected to Lok Sabha from Ankapalli. In 2004 he was elected to the assembly from Chodavaram on TDP ticket though the party lost power in the state.
Srinivasa Rao joined PRP before 2009 elections and was again elected to the assembly.