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Andhra Pradesh cabinet reshuffle: Jagan to retain 4 ministers; caste, religion balance to decide new team

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Amaravati, April 7: All 24 members of the Andhra Pradesh Council of Ministers will tender their resignation en masse when they formally meet here for the last time on April 7, to let Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy reconstitute his Cabinet.

The new Council of Ministers will be inducted on April 11.

Andhra Pradesh cabinet reshuffle on cards, Only 4 ministers from present cabinet to retain post

While the reconstituted Cabinet will have new faces, at least four from the incumbent team may be re-inducted, government sources said.

The fresh inductions and retentions are solely based on caste criteria, with no other factor in play, the sources noted.

When he took over as Chief Minister on May 30, 2019, Jagan had announced that he would undertake a complete overhaul of his Cabinet after two and a half years and take-in a new team.

The current Cabinet was sworn-in on June 8, 2019 and was supposed to be in office till December 8, 2021.

For a variety of reasons, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cabinet reorganisation was put off even past the due date.

Last month, the Chief Minister announced that he would undertake the Cabinet reorganisation after Ugadi (Telugu New Year's Day that fell on April 2) and the subsequent formation of new districts.

The new districts came into being on April 4, clearing the way for the Cabinet rejig.

According to indications from the ruling YSR Congress, the existing structure of the Council of Ministers would be retained, with five Deputy Chief Ministers in place.

One DCM post will be given each to a legislator belonging to SC, ST, Muslim, Backward Caste and Kapu communities.

Based on the caste calculations, at least four incumbent ministers may be re-inducted into the new Cabinet.

"In the case of two ministers, there are clearly no alternative candidates available from the same caste. As such they are expected to make it back. Though some other MLAs of the same community are in line, one SC (Madiga) minister may also be re-inducted because of dominating local factors," a minister of the outgoing Cabinet pointed out.

The same caste equation might work in favour of another minister, who could secure a re-berth.

Apart from the Reddy community, the main support group of the YSRC, Kapu is also expected to get the same preference in the fresh Cabinet as well, essentially to counter the opposition Jana Sena of film star Pawan Kalyan.

The one community that would be left out again will be Brahmin, which will have to be content with the Assembly Deputy Speaker post.

There are three women in the current Cabinet and the new one is also expected to have the same number.

Last month, the Chief Minister had remarked that dropping the ministers did not mean "keeping them aside".

"Some of them will be made presidents of the district party units and some will be appointed as regional coordinators. We are giving them the party responsibilities since they gained an elevation and personal reputation as ministers," Jagan had said.

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