A week after assuming office, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday inducted 25 ministers into his cabinet, while keeping the overall upper caste representation way below 50 per cent for the first time in the history of Telugu politics.
Including the chief minister, the strength of the state cabinet stays at 26, which is the maximum strength the AP council of ministers can maintain.
Bringing the theme of social justice into the center stage of his cabinet formation, chief minister Reddy has inducted 14 ministers from the BC, SC, ST and minority communities, giving them a combined 56 per cent representation in the cabinet.
Apart from this, he gave four ministerial berths to the politically aspiring Kapu community, a powerful social grouping next to Reddys and Kammas in the state, putting them on the same pedestal as the Reddys in the cabinet. The highest number of ministerial berths (7) were given to BCs followed by the SCs (5).
Governor E S L Narasimhan administered the oath of office and oath of secrecy at a simple ceremony at Velagapudi in the new state capital this afternoon. Earlier in the day, Jagan formally entered his chambers at the secretariat complex and signed the first file raising the salary of Asha workers to Rs 10,000 per month from the present Rs 3,000.
At the legislature party meeting on Friday, a day before the constitution of the cabinet, Reddy declared that he would make five of the ministers as deputy chief ministers, one each from BC, SC, ST, Kapu and minority communities in a bid to give them an enhanced political stature in his government. Keeping the hope of other aspirants of ministerial berths alive, Reddy also announced that he would shift at least 20 ministers to the party half-way through the tenure of the present government and induct new members in their place.