TELANGANA: CABINET IN WAITING
Almost two months after re-election, KCR has yet to announce his cabinet
K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is a superstitious man, which is why he allegedly delayed the swearingin of new MLAs for more than a month after the assembly election results were declared on December 11. The Telangana chief minister is also yet to name his cabinet, and is currently running the government with just one minister— home minister M. Mahmood Ali. Apparently the wait is for an “inauspicious period” to blow over. That said, despite the Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) commanding position—it won 88 of the 120 assembly seats—KCR’s ‘managers’ are still out wooing legislators of the decimated opposition.
“My government is passing through a transition, from an old to a new regime. We do not want to shoot arrows in the dark, but take firm steps,” the chief minister had declared during his first policy speech after the four-day inaugural assembly session on December 20.
KCR says his first priority is to bring irrigation to 12.5 million acres within the next three years and link Telangana’s 12,700 villages with black-topped roads that “shine like mirrors”. He expects to spend Rs 10 lakh crore over the coming five years, and possibly an additional “Rs 1.5 lakh crore if there is a favourable government [in Delhi] after the Lok Sabha poll”. To that end, he plans to present a vote-on-account budget, and go for a full-fledged one after a new government assumes office at the Centre. As per the CM’s calculations, the state government would have about Rs 8.9 lakh crore left over after debt servicing, half of which would be spent on development.
KCR also promised to fulfil all “promises made in the TRS election manifesto, along with those initiated in the first term”. But, for the moment, he is pursuing a bureaucracy-driven government. He has had officials work to reorganise and cut the 33 government departments down for ensuring their effective functioning. The administration is also gearing up to fill up 15,000 vacancies by March-end, with 95 per cent of the new jobs going to ‘locals’.
Party insiders first said the muchawaited cabinet expansion is likely after the Sahasra Chandi Yagam, a five-day religious ritual at his farmhouse in Erravelli, which concluded on January 25. The speculated new D-Day is February 10, Vasanta Panchami day.
The delay in installing a fullfledged government has predictably drawn criticism from the opposition. Congress party spokesperson Dasoju Sravan has written to governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, alleging the TRS had violated constitutional norms by not having the minimum prescribed number of ministers in the cabinet. But KCR remains unfazed.
Analysts say it is the CM’s way of establishing supremacy within the party and government. And it’s working. There hasn’t been a peep from anyone within the TRS fold yet.
A HIGHER LOGIC KCR at the ‘sahasra chandi’ yagam at his farmhouse