The largest ever representation for Andhra Pradesh in the union council of ministers may well be seen as an attempt by the Congress-led UPA to salvage the sagging fortunes of the party in the state. With
11 ministers, Andhra Pradesh today overtook Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra,
Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan in its strength in the government.
While Tamil Nadu and Kerala have eight representatives in the council of ministers including those of DMK, Maharashtra follows suit with seven, including those of NCP. Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan have six ministers each at the central level.
It was almost a rainbow selection from Andhra Pradesh today with different communities and regions represented but it certainly cannot be seen as an attempt to address any of the immediate challenges facing the Congress in the state, whether on the Telangana or the Jagan Mohan Reddy front.
New Minister of State for Tourism Chiranjeevi
's induction was seen as long overdue, ever since he merged his Prajarajyam Party with the Congress in February. He is expected to woo not just tourists but the Kapu voters in Andhra Pradesh along with Pallam Raju (Cabinet Minister Human Resource and Development), who has been elevated to cabinet rank.
Balram Naik (Minister of State Social Justice and Empowerment) and Sarve Satyanarayana (Minister of State Road Transport and Highways) represent the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste constituency, both are from Telangana. They, along with Jaipal Reddy (Cabinet Minister Science and Technology, Earth Sciences), have the job of convincing the people that Telangana is well represented at the Centre and that the interests of the region will be protected.
Killi Krupa Rani (Minister of State Communications and Information Technology), a 50-year-old medical doctor from Srikakulam in northcoastal Andhra Pradesh, represents the backward class vote.
Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy (Minister of State Railways), Kurnool MP and son of former chief minister Vijayabhaskar Reddy, has been brought in as the Reddy from Rayalaseema, which is the traditional vote bank of the Congress.
D Purandeswari is getting a portfolio shift from HRD to commerce with no elevation in rank. As daughter of NTR, she is expected to blunt the Telugu Desam's Chandrababu Naidu and her actor-brother Balakrishna for who the traditional vote bank has been the Kamma community.
The jumbo induction, however, left many others like four-time MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao unhappy. But he probably paid the price for being too vocal in opposing the demand for a separate Telangana.