The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 3 , 2014
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Telangana CM in saddle, with fetish for No. 6

K Chandrasekhar Rao takes oath in Hyderabad as the first chief minister of Telangana on Monday. (PTI)

Hyderabad, June 2: K. Chandrasekhar Rao assumed charge today as the first chief minister of the country’s newest state, vowing to root out “political corruption” and confirming a known soft spot — a liking for the number 6.

The 60-year-old also promised to ensure a “transparent administration” as he addressed a ceremonial parade to mark Telangana’s midnight birth.

A peek into the practical aspects of governance was also on offer: Rao said the final decision on the pre-election promise of waiving farm loans of up to Rs 1 lakh would be announced only after a meeting with bankers. Sources said the waiver could amount to Rs 46,000 crore.

Earlier in the morning, E.S.L. Narasimhan was sworn in as the governor of Telangana, hours after India’s 29th state was formally carved out of Andhra Pradesh. An hour later, Narasimhan administered the oath of office to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti president and 11 members of his cabinet.

They included Mohammed Mohammed Ali and T. Rajaiah, whom Rao designated as his deputy chief ministers. The others were his son K.T. Rama Rao, nephew Harish Rao, Nayani Narasimha Reddy, Eatela Rajender, Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy, T. Padma Rao, P. Mahender Reddy, Jogu Ramanna and G. Jagadish Reddy.

In deference to all those who had backed the long struggle for statehood, Rao had invited 400 apolitical persons, including parents of “martyrs”, intellectuals, artists and sportsmen for the swearing-in. “This is a token expression to show that it was their sacrifice and active role in the Telangana struggle that made this day a reality,” said Rao’s nephew T. Harish Rao.

Fireworks over the Tank Bund in Hyderabad at midnight on Sunday mark the formation of Telangana. (PTI)

After taking charge at 12.57pm, the chief minister approved the Telangana government’s emblem — the Kakatiya toranam (arch) with a miniature replica of the Charminar inside and letters in Telugu, English and Urdu around the circle.

While Rao’s sixth-floor office confirmed his fetish for the number, so did the number of ministers sworn in today, including Rao. The first cabinet numbers 12, a multiple of 6. The number plate of his official car, a black Fortuner, reads: AP 09 K - 6666.

Party sources said six more ministers would be inducted, taking the number to 18 — again a multiple of 6.

Rao has decided to hold the first Assembly meet on June 9 to swear in the MLAs and elect the Speaker and the deputy Speaker.

Addressing a huge gathering at the Parade Grounds, Rao said he would wage a full-fledged battle against political corruption. “We will… ensure a transparent administration,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised “complete” central support to the new state. “Centre assures complete support to the people & Government of Telangana in taking the state to newer heights of progress,” he tweeted.

The Telangana logo, unveiled on Monday. A street signboard painter, Laxman Aelay, has designed it.

Telugu Desam Party leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister-designate of the residual Andhra, did not attend the swearing-in. “We just got a cursory card from the protocol department,” the Desam’s Telangana leader, Erraballi Dayakar Rao, said.

Naidu, however, personally called Rao to invite him for his June 8 swearing-in as Andhra chief minister.

The surveyor general of India, Swarna Subbarao said it would be a while before Telangana is reflected in India’s official geographical and political map as the home ministry was yet to provide boundary details to the Hyderabad-based Survey of India.