Andhra's representation goes up further in union ministry

Hyderabad, June 17 (IANS) The induction of two Congress leaders from Andhra Pradesh in the union ministry Monday has increased the southern state's representation to an all-time high.

The inclusion of Kavuri Sambasiva Rao and J. D. Seelam has taken to 12 the number of ministers from the southern state, an electorally significant state for Congress. It is the highest representation for any state.

Both Rao and Seelam come from coastal Andhra, a politically vital region for the ruling party. While Rao, a member of Lok Sabha from Eluru has been made a cabinet minister, Seelam, a member of Rajya Sabha, is a minister of state.

Political observers say the Congress leadership has rewarded Rao for remaining loyal. The five-time MP had submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha speaker when he was ignored in the expansion last year. However, the leadership convinced him to take back his resignation.

Seelam's induction is being seen as an attempt by the ruling party to woo scheduled castes ahead of the next year's elections to Lok Sabha and the state assembly.

Chief Minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy Monday thanked UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for giving maximum representation to the state.

"Chief minister hoped that with their vast experience, both the ministers will help the State in getting funds for the welfare and development," said a statement from the chief minister's office.

Of the 12 ministers from the state, four are of cabinet rank, one is a minister of state (independent charge) and the remaining are ministers of state. There are as many as eight ministers from coastal Andhra - three cabinet, a minister of state with independent charge and three ministers of state.

Telangana, which is witnessing political turmoil over the demand for separate statehood, has one cabinet and two ministers of state. Rayalaseema has only one minister of state.

Congress won 33 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats from Andhra Pradesh in 2009 elections. However, the it faced a crisis after the death of then chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash the same year. His son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy staged a revolt and floated a new party YSR Congress.

The Congress tally came down with Jaganmohan Reddy and M. Rajamohan Reddy getting re-elected on YSR Congress ticket.

Last month, two more Congress MPs resigned to join Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

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