With the merger of the 12 Congress legislators with TRS Legislature Party (TRSLP), Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is expected to take up the much-awaited expansion of the State Cabinet. Of the 12 Congress MLAs, who defected to the Congress, Maheswaram MLA and former Home Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy is likely to be inducted into the Cabinet.
After the Assembly elections in December, Chandrasekhar Rao, along with Mohammed Mahmood Ali, were sworn and later, in February, Rao inducted ten members into the Cabinet, taking the total to 12. As per the strength of the Assembly, Rao can induct five more into the Cabinet. However, while expanding the Cabinet in February, the Chief Minister declared that two women would be taken into the Cabinet in the next expansion.
According to sources, Sabitha may become one of the two women who are expected to be taken into Rao’s Cabinet. The Cabinet expansion is delayed due to series of elections. Rao also waited for the merger of the CLP with the TRS so that the defected members could be inducted into the Cabinet without any problem. In his first term, Rao inducted Talasani Srinivas Yadav, who defected from TDP to TRS, into the Cabinet.
However, the TRS government faced severe criticism over the issue. The TDP filed a disqualification petition against Srinivas Yadav then. But, this time, the TRS would not face such problems as the defections will be ratified as per the provisions of the X Schedule of the Constitution. Of five vacancies in the Cabinet, Rao would most likely pick Sabitha Indra Reddy and MLC A Lalitha to keep his promise of representation to two women.
The remaining three vacancies might be filled with Rao’s son and TRS working president KT Rama Rao and his nephew T Harish Rao. The third slot might be filled by Gutha Sukhender Reddy, if he is tipped to be sent to the Legislative Council. Though, there is a talk that Rao may drop some ministers a possibility is very remote, sources said.
‘People approved the merger’
Twelve Congress MLAs, who merged with the TRS on Thursday, said that their merger was approved by the people of their respective Assembly segments. Speaking to reporters after submitting a formal letter to Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy for the merger, Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy said that they have joined TRS only to fulfil the assurances given to the people.
“We have given several assurances to the people during the elections. We have to fulfil them. That is why we have joined TRS. We are supporting the leadership of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao,” Ramana Reddy said. Haripriya Banoth said that they joined TRS as per the X Schedule of the Constitution of India. Kantha Rao Rega expressed hope that his segment would get more funds for the development of the Scheduled Area.