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Jagan’s Cabinet : A well-worked Strategy

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(Ashok Tankasala)

‘Social Revolution’, screamed the banner headlines of Sakshi, a Telugu daily newspaper on June 8, presenting the news of Cabinet making by Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy, the new AP Chief Minister the day before.

Of course, the paper is owned by Reddy himself but the question is if there is any substance to such elation.

The apparent reason for the paper to describe the Cabinet making
exercise in such terms is more than half of its 25 members, 14 to be precise, belong to BC, SC, ST, and Minority communities. It has never been so in the history of Andhra Pradesh since 1956. Of the 14 members, 7 are BCs, 5 SCs with 1 each coming from ST and Muslim minority communities.

To boot it, Reddy has inducted as many as 4 Deputy Chief Ministers, another unprecedented step, one each belonging to these sections.

If that is not enough to call it a ‘Social Revolution’, the Kapus, who are not statutorily recognized as BCs but have been demanding such a status for a long time, are given 4 Cabinet berths, one of them being a Deputy CM.

What struck one and all equally important was the CM’s own community shares just 5 posts, including that of the CM himself, despite the fact that nearly half of the 151MLAs of YSRCP happen to be Reddys, who always ruled the roost basing
on their financial and socio-political clouts, despite being in single
digits population wise.

Is this not enough to justify the headlines of Sakshi?

The surprising and unprecedented kind of composition of Jagan Reddy’s ministry has naturally fired up the imaginations of the general public and analysts alike.

Has he truly turned a social revolutionary to accord a share of political power to the downtrodden sections of the society, which even those sections may not have dreamed of, or is it a mere stratagem to strengthen his political base and weaken that of his
rival Chandrababu Naidu?

It is difficult to pronounce it one way or the other but it could be ‘two birds at one shot’ kind of view also.

It may be noted here that both the Reddys and Kammas, to whom Naidu belongs, happen to be numerically small— in single digits– but dominant in other ways.

It has been the slogan of down-trodden communities that being in big majorities the political power should belong to them but not to Reddys or Kammas.

But as it happened, let alone the ‘power’ as such belonging to them they never had reasonably sufficient share in the Cabinets of any party, not to talk of more than half of the berths as is witnessed now for the first time in the
ministry of present CM.

In addition to the possible dual-strategy
mentioned above, another reason for Jagan to make his ministry in this manner could be, all these social sections have backed his party to the hilt giving him an equally unprecedented majority.

In any case, the fall out of this kind of ministerial ‘Social
Revolution’, could be several folds. To begin with, it will certainly
stir up the imaginations as well as ambitions of these social
communities, setting up new benchmarks for the future CMs and
political parties.

This trend can be reversed by others only at their
own peril. While political power is distributed in this manner at the Cabinet making level, it may logically lead to similar arrangements at the lower levels of local body elections. As this process begins, the direct and indirect demands for the sharing of material power and resources may not be far behind.