Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will expand his cabinet on Sunday. Governor E S L Narasimhan will administer the oath to the new ministers in Amaravati at 11:45 am, official sources said on Friday.
The exercise, seven months before the state heads to the Legislative Assembly elections, is aimed at providing representation to Muslim and tribal communities. There has been no Muslim or tribal person in Naidu's cabinet since he assumed office in 2014.
According to sources in the ruling Telugu Desam Party, Naidu is likely to induct a representative each from the Muslim community and the scheduled tribes.
The Andhra Pradesh cabinet currently has 24 members, including the Chief Minister. As per the rules, it can have two more ministers.
It was in retaliation to the TDP pulling out of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre that in March this year, two BJP ministers pulled out of the state cabinet.
Ministers Kamineni Srinivas (Medical and Health) and Manikyala Rao (endowments) said that it was a painful decision and submitted their resignations. The ministers abstained from the cabinet meeting before the approval of the budget and submitted their resignation to the CM in the Assembly.
The TDP, which was an ally of the BJP, decided to withdraw two of its ministers from the Union cabinet, after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that Andhra Pradesh will not get Special Category Status (SCS), an assurance made during bifurcation in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
In its first cabinet expansion in April last year where 11 new Ministers were inducted, Naidu's son Nara Lokesh was allotted the portfolios of Panchayat Raj, Rural Development and Information Technology.
Naidu distributed portfolios which he had been holding since 2014 and also the portfolios of five ministers dropped from the cabinet earlier. The cabinet rejig triggered dissidence in the party with one of the dropped ministers resigning from assembly and a senior party leader quitting party post on being denied the cabinet berth.