KCR may expand Telangana cabinet in second half of January
It is almost three weeks since the Telangana Rashtra Samithi led by K Chandrasekhar Rao returned to power with a massive mandate for a second successive term, but the new government is yet to take a formal shape.
Elections to the 119-member assembly were held on December 7 and results declared on December 11. The TRS won 88 seats, pushing the main opposition Congress to a distant second position with 19 seats.
As of now, only the chief minister and home minister Mohammad Mahmud Ali have taken the oath and there have been no signs that KCR, as Rao is popularly known, is going to expand his cabinet any soon.
And it is unlikely that the cabinet will be expanded before January 15, as there are no auspicious days before the Sankranti festival.
“Even if it is done, it will be a compact cabinet with six or seven ministers and a full-fledged cabinet will be formed only after the Lok Sabha elections in April,” a TRS source familiar with the development said.
The chief minister himself made it clear on Saturday that he was not in a hurry. “I will expand the cabinet at an appropriate time and we shall give due representation to different communities,” he said.
Since there are no ministers, no official meetings have been conducted in any of the departments. The chief minister held a couple of review meetings on the progress of ongoing irrigation projects and implementation of Kanti Velugu (eye camps) programme.
On Monday, he held another review meeting on the growth of food processing industry in the state. And from January 1, KCR will take up a two-day field trip to inspect the progress of the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project being constructed on the Godavari river.
Even the state assembly meeting has not been convened to enable the newly-elected members to take the mandatory oath. KCR said there is no hurry in convening the assembly either.
“The oath-taking of MLAs is just a formality and nothing will happen even it is delayed,” he said.
Sources said the chief minister is contemplating convening the assembly session only in the first week of February for the budget session, instead of a separate one for the members to take the oath.
According to official sources, the state government might go in for a vote-on-account budget initially and a full-fledged budget for 2019-20 at a later stage, since the Centre would also present the same in view of the Lok Sabha elections.
“Since a total picture of the Union Budget will not emerge and there will not be any clear indication as to what extent funds flow will be there for state, the chief minister instructed officials to examine whether to introduce an interim budget initially and go for full-fledged budget at a later stage taking into consideration the policy framework of the next new government at the centre,” a spokesperson said.
The Congress party has questioned KCR over the delay.
“In the history of India, can you find any state where even 18 days after the declaration of results, MLAs have not taken the oath?” the Congress in-charge of Telangana affairs, RC Khuntia said, according to news agency PTI.
“It requires the attention of the nation that even 18 days after results have come, MLAs have not taken the oath. The ministry has not been formed. How is it that even after 18 days, nobody is taking the oath?” he asked.
(With agency inputs)
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