Newly appointed Union minister Chiranjeevi on Sunday expressed hope that Congress would come back to power in the 2014 elections and announced that he would strive hard to ensure victory for the party.
He said that the latest reshuffle designed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi would help United Progressive Alliance win the 2014 general elections hands down. Expressing full faith in the Manmohan Singh government, the former actor said that the inclusion and promotion of young leaders like Manish Tewari, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot in the cabinet would definitely give the government a much-needed edge.
Earlier, all 22 ministers duly took their oath of office. But it appeared to be a battle of nerves for Porika Balram Naik who in his rush to greet President Pranab Mukherjee and other dignitaries after he had been sworn in, almost forgot to sign his name following oath-taking. Naik and Sarve Satyanarayana touched the President’s feet after being sworn in as ministers of state. Notwithstanding the disappointment and heartburn among some Andhra Pradesh MPs who have missed the bus in the current reshuffle, AP Congress is jubilant that leaders from the state have landed as many as 11 berths in the Union cabinet following Sunday’s rejig. Congress leaders in AP have termed the development historic as the state has never before had so many central ministers.
“We are happy that AP got its due share in the Union cabinet with 11 berths including that of Jairam Ramesh who has been elected from the state. I would like extend my sincerest thanks to party president Sonia Gandhi and prime minister Manmohan Singh,” said Botsa Satyanarayana, PCC president and transport minister. A Kapu strongman, Botsa sought to dismiss speculation that Pallam Raju had been elevated to cabinet rank to restrict fellow Kapu Chiranjeevi to a state-rank berth. “Pallam Raju is a senior politician whose father and grandfather were ministers. While a senior leader thus received his due, a first-time MP (Chiranjeevi) was also given a fair deal,” he said.
Pallam Raju is understood to have been rewarded for his staunch loyalty to the party and handpicked by Rahul Gandhi. Ponnala Lakshmaiah, another Kapu leader and AP minister for IT, was happy for him. While pointing at the fine social balance struck in the combination of the Union ministers from the state, Ponnala said, “Imparting social justice is the combination of ministers from the state. BCs, tribal, and dalits have all got their due.”
Among the 11 ministers from AP, three are from the BC community — Chiranjeevi, Killi Kruparani and Pallam Raju; one from the Madiga community, Sarve Satyanarayana; one from the Malas, Panabaka Lakshmi; two from the tribal communities, Kishore Chandra Deo and Balram Naik; two from Reddy community, S Jaipal Reddy, Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy; one from the Kammas, Daggubati Purandeswari and one from the Brahmins, Jairam Ramesh.
Although he was a bit disappointed over Telangana region having got a raw deal, Danam Nagender, AP labour minister, said he was happy that the state now had the highest number of ministers in the Union cabinet. “When PV Narasimha Rao had been Prime Minister, AP had eight ministers, and now it is 11. We must be thankful to the Congress high command for this,” Nagender said.
While many MPs are sulking over the Union cabinet snub, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao has already submitted his resignation. Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Renuka Chowdary, Manda Jagannath, Anjan Kumar Yadav and Madhu Yashki Goud are among the lot who were feeling ‘hurt’ over having been denied a Union cabinet berth. TOI