Protests erupted at multiple locations in Andhra Pradesh even as Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's new cabinet took oath. Supporters of heavyweight leaders who were not included in the new team vented their frustration in parts of the state.
M Sucharita, said to be the first woman and a Dalit to be made home minister, resigned as MLA today, unhappy at not being retained. She handed her resignation letter to Rajya Sabha member Mopidevi Venkatramana, who had gone to pacify her. Her daughter said she continues in the YSR Congress.
This time, four women, including former actress Roja, have taken oath as ministers.
The supporters of two other former ministers are also on the warpath.
Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, a relative of the Chief Minister who was the first to trigger the rebellion on Sunday, has sent a message to the YSR Congress leadership that he would step down from his MLA post. Sources said he would meet the Chief Minister shortly.
His supporters blocked roads in Ongole and parts of Prakasam district, demanding that he be re-inducted into the cabinet. Elected representatives of local bodies, including the Ongole Municipal Corporation, threatened to quit their posts.
In Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao district, followers of Jaggaiahpet MLA Samineni Udayabhanu burnt a two-wheeler and tyres and staged a roadblock on the busy National Highway-65, protesting denial of a Cabinet berth for him.
While choosing his 25-member cabinet in June 2019, Jagan Mohan Reddy had made it clear that they would have to make way for a new team midway through the 5-year term. This was meant to give a chance to one-third of his 151 legislators to serve as ministers, and keep them happy.
The open defiance came as a surprise as Mr Reddy is undeniably the undisputed leader of the YSR Congress. Mr Reddy chose his team with an eye on 2024 assembly and parliament elections, with 67 per cent representation to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and minorities.
Mr Reddy had to do a balancing act, between political compulsions and social engineering, retaining 11 members of his original team and ensuring that 17 of the 25 ministers belong to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, Backward Classes and other minority communities.
The combination was meant to take on a Kamma-Kapu consolidation -- a possibility if Chandrababu Naidu and Pawan Kalyan come together.