The Andhra Pradesh cabinet was expanded Monday with the induction of three ministers.
N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, Prasad Kumar and Kondru Murali were sworn-in as ministers by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan Monday evening.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, assembly Speaker N. Manohar, legislative council Chairman A. Chakrapani, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, Congress leader K. Chiranjeevi, and several ministers, members of parliament, and officials attended the swearing-in ceremony.
All the three are first-time ministers. Their portfolios will be announced later.
With their induction, the strength of the state cabinet has gone up to 41.
This is the second time in less than three weeks that cabinet has been expanded. The latest expansion was to fill the vacancies caused by the resignations of two ministers over the Telangana issue last year and the dropping of another minister, P. Shankar Rao, last month.
While Uttam Kumar Reddy and Prasad Kumar are from Telangana, Murali, the current government chief whip, hails from coastal Andhra.
The ruling Congress took the decision after the chief minister held talks with party president Sonia Gandhi and other central leaders in New Delhi during the last two days.
Though Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, former state Congress chief D. Srinivas and another legislator, Gandra Venkatramna Reddy, were strong contenders for ministerial berths, the Congress leadership decided to limit the exercise to the induction of three ministers.
The cabinet was expanded on Jan 19 with the induction of two ministers from the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), which has already merged with the Congress.