TE­LAN­GANA: CAB­I­NET IN WAIT­ING

Al­most two months after re-elec­tion, KCR has yet to an­nounce his cab­i­net

India Today - - STATES - By Amar­nath K. Menon

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

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