Naidu inducts three new faces

Lionel Messias
00:00 September 12, 2002

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu inducted three new faces into his cabinet, all from the Telangana region yesterday, in a bid to end criticism that he has neglected the region, but he left the corruption-tainted ministers untouched.

In the reshuffle, a minister of state was promoted to full cabinet rank and the portfolios of four others shuffled around. The cabinet now has a strength of 39.

The exercise meant that the ministers facing charges of corruption in the Food-for-Work (FFW) programme went home happy for the moment.

The new ministers are Nerella Anjaneyulu (Yellareddy, Nizama-bad district), Telugu film comedian P. Babu Mohan (Andole, Medak district) and Muthyam Reddy (Dommatta, Medak district) none of whom were surprised at being picked, as by Tuesday night almost of all Hyderabad knew of their selection.

Minister of State for Technical Education M. Damodar Reddy was elevated to cabinet rank. Anjaneyulu, who was in Singapore on a government sponsored tour, rushed back to Hyderabad in the morning.

Yesterday's induction fills the vacancies caused by the death of former higher education minister K. Ramachandra Rao and the resignations of former panchayat raj minister P. Srinivas Reddy and former labour minister S. Devaiah.

Naidu retained his scam-tainted ministers K. Subbarayudu, K.E. Prabhakar and N. Janardhan Reddy, who have been attacked by the opposition for their alleged role in diverting rice meant for the FFW.

After the swearing-in, Naidu said his government was committed to providing an honest, upright and efficient administration.

Naidu afterwards held a cabinet meeting and announced the reallocation of portfolios of five other ministers and assigned portfolios to the new ministers.

Anjaneyulu was given technical education and training, Muthyam Reddy, food and civil supplies, and Babu Mohan, labour and factories.

Naidu gave N. Janardhan Reddy the crucial panchayat raj ministry and Kodela Siva Prasad Rao the medical, health and family welfare ministry.