Andhra Pradesh’s new 25-member Cabinet, which was sworn in on Saturday, is a mix of experience and youth as Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has also rewarded the loyalists.
Striking a balance, Jagan Reddy has also tried to ensure proper representation to the regions and various castes.
Six of the Ministers he inducted into his Cabinet were loyalists of his late father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who was popularly known as YSR.
They had served in the Congress government headed by YSR in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2004-09. The Ministers were re-inducted after YSR retained power in 2009.
Following YSR’s death in a helicopter crash a few months later, some of them had served under his successors K. Rosaiah and Kiran Kumar Reddy but subsequently switched loyalties to Jagan Reddy, who quit the Congress to float the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in 2011.
Though P. Subhash Chandra Bose and Mopidevi Venkatramna were defeated in the Assembly elections, the YSRCP chief inducted them to reward them for their loyalty and also to have experienced hands in the government.
Jagan, as the Chief Minister is known among his supporters, also rewarded those who stood by him through thick and thin.
However, in an attempt to give representation to different caste groups, he also had to ignore some seniors and those considered close to him.
In an unprecedented move, Jagan announced that he will have five Deputy Chief Ministers, one each from the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Backward Classes (BC), minorities and Kapus.
Though a symbolic gesture considering the fact that power will be concentrated in the hands of the Chief Minister and a couple of the leaders close to him, it is considered a significant move aimed at social outreach.
The YSRCP chief wants to show that he is giving importance to the communities whose support helped the party storm to power with a landslide majority.
Jagan has also given 60 per cent of the cabinet berths to BCs, SCs, STs and minorities. There are seven ministers from BCs, five from SCs and one each from STs and minorities.
The remaining 11 berths have gone to other castes. Kapus, a numerically significant caste in parts of south coastal Andhra, were given four berths. Reddys, a dominant caste in the party, were also given four ministries. Kammas, Vyshyas and Kshatriyas got one berth each.
Jagan also gave importance to young blood in his ministry. Like the 46-year-old Jagan, the majority of the Ministers have no previous experience of working in a government and were elected to the Assembly for the second or third time. Almost all leaders had come to YSRCP from either the Congress or the the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Most of these Ministers are aged between 45-55 years.
At 33, P. Pushpa Sreevani is the youngest in Jagan’s Cabinet. Re-elected from Kurupam constituency in Vizianagaram district for a second consecutive term, she is one of the three women to find place in the Cabinet.
Sreevani, who has done B.Ed. from Andhra University, showed cultivation as her occupation in the affidavit filed by her while submitting her nomination to the Election Commission.
P. Anil Kumar is the second youngest. The 38-year-old was re-elected from Nellore City constituency. A Bachelor in Dental Surgery, he is into the real estate business.
Another prominent name is Kodali Sri Venkateswar Rao, popularly known as Kodali Nani. Once an active leader of the TDP in Krishna district, he quit the party to join the YSRCP in 2012.
The 47-year-old, who failed in the 10th standard, is a close friend of popular actor Junior NTR, grandson of TDP founder and former Chief Minister N. T. Rama Rao, who was popular as NTR.
Nani was re-elected from Gudivada constituency for a fourth time.