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Jagan factor in AP cabinet formation

Uncertainty clouds the composition of the cabinet of newly sworn-in Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, with the Jaganmohan Reddy factor becoming the decider for berths.

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2010 00:41 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

Uncertainty clouds the composition of the cabinet of newly sworn-in Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, with the Jaganmohan Reddy factor becoming the decider for berths.

Kiran, who has been holding talks with the Congress brass in the Capital over the past two days, on Sunday said his cabinet will be sworn in on Wednesday.

Though he stated the exercise was to balance regional, caste, community and gender factors, distance from Jagan has become the main criterion.

“Loyalty to the party is the sole criterion and requirement for a berth in the cabinet,” a aide of Kiran and one of the hopefuls said.

Kiran’s meeting party chief Sonia Gandhi twice indicates the threat the party needs to neutralise now — Kadapa MP Jaganmohan.

So much so that the party is luring YS Vivekananda Reddy, former chief minister YSR’s brother and Jaganmohan’s uncle, who on Saturday said he would get Jaganmohan to Sonia to regret the telecasts on his channel. Viveka, an MLC, met Gandhi at 10 Janpath on Sunday, indicating a confirmed berth in the cabinet.

Jaganmohan’s channel Sakshi has been spitting venom against the Gandhis after the Odarpu yatra, which he took up despite party warnings.

Andhra Pradesh Bhavan was buzzing with activity as ministers and MLAs made last-ditch efforts to make it to the list. Although there is strong support for Kiran, analysts said the cabinet composition might just turn the tide for the rebel.

“We are all anxiously awaiting the list,” a Jagan supporter, treading the middle path, said.

“While the cabinet would reflect the strategy to target the rebel, the list can have some names of those who, if denied a berth, would again go to Jagan like the days after YSR death. The cabinet would serve as a life-or-death line for Jagan,” K Nageshwar, a political analyst at Osmania University, said from Hyderabad.

So, the priority is to strike a fine balance in the list, even keeping Telangana factor aside.

Given the clout Jaganmohan has, Konda Surekha, then minister for women and child development, exited the cabinet in his support. Two other ministers — Balineni Srinivasa Reddy and Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose — defied the party to join the yatra.

The Jaganmohan camp made it clear that he could form a party soon. “There is no reason Jagan should apologise or compromise. He will continue his father’s legacy,” Surekha said.