AP minister to resign before cabinet reorganization on April 11, caste key factor

All 24 members of the Andhra Pradesh Council of Ministers will collectively tender their resignations when they formally meet here on April 7 to allow Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to reconstitute his cabinet. The new council of ministers will be inducted on April 11.

Government sources said the reconstituted cabinet would have fresh faces, but at least four from the existing team could be re-inducted. He said that caste norms can play an important role in the formation of the new cabinet.

When he took over as the chief minister on May 30, 2019, Jagan had announced that he would completely overhaul his cabinet after two and a half years and have a new team. The current cabinet was sworn in on June 8, 2019 and was to remain in office till December 8, 2021.

Due to several reasons including the Covid-19 pandemic, the cabinet reorganization was put on hold before the due date. Last month, the chief minister announced that he would take up the task of restructuring the cabinet after Ugadi (Telugu New Year’s Day falling on April 2) and the formation of new districts thereafter.

The new districts came into existence on April 4, paving the way for a cabinet reshuffle. According to indications from the ruling YSR Congress, the existing structure of the Council of Ministers will be retained, which will have five deputy chief ministers.

One MLA each from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Muslim, Backward Caste and Kapu community will be given one DCM post. Based on the caste count, at least four existing ministers can be re-inducted into the new cabinet.

In the case of two ministers, clearly no alternative candidates are available from the same caste. So he is expected to return. Though some other MLAs from the same community are in line, an SC (Madiga) minister may also be inducted again as local factors dominate, a minister in the outgoing cabinet told PTI. The same caste equation may work in favor of another minister, who may again secure a berth.

Apart from the Reddy community, the Kapu, the main support group of the YSRC, is also expected to get the same preference in the new cabinet, essentially to counter the opposition Jana Sena of film star Pawan Kalyan. The one community that will survive will again be Brahmins, who will have to be content with the post of Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

There are three women in the current cabinet and a similar number is expected to be in the new cabinet. Last month, the chief minister had remarked that dropping ministers does not mean keeping them apart.

Some of them would be made presidents of district party units and some would be appointed as regional coordinators. Jagan had said that we are giving him party responsibilities as he has achieved progress and personal prestige as a minister.

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