Dattatreya first Telangana minister at the Centre
Five months after it came into existence, the new state of Telangana finally got represented in the BJP government at the Centre with party veteran Bandaru Dattatreya being sworn in as minister of state with independent charge. Mr Dattatreya, the lone BJP MP from Telangana, has promised to fight for protecting the rights of both Telangana and the residuary AP.
The 68-year-old MP was sworn-in by President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday afternoon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi expanded his Cabinet for the first time after he assumed office on May 26, this year. The appointment of Mr Dattatreya, who won his fourth Lok Sabha election from Secunderabad in May, comes at a time when there were murmurs in the corridors of power that the new state was not represented in the Cabinet, while neighbouring AP was over-represented with veterans like M. Venkaiah Naidu, Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Nirmala Sitharaman, whose husband hails from the state.
After taking oath as minister, Mr Dattatreya, whose portfolio is not yet known, thanked Mr Modi and the BJP for choosing him to be part of the Union Cabinet and representing Telangana. Meanwhile, Secunderabad MP Bandaru Dattatreya said his earlier experience as MoS in the Vajpayee Cabinet a decade ago would come in handy in his new assignment.
“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the confidence he has reposed on me. I had worked at the Centre as MoS under Vajpayee Ji. I will work hard to ensure that I fulfil the responsibilities given to me,” he told reporters here. He also added that he had no special preference over portfolios and would accept anything that the prime minister allocated to him.
The only minister in the Union Cabinet representing Telangana, Mr Dattatreya was cautious in commenting on the issue and said that he would work for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
“I will fight for the rights of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Telugu people live in both states. I will fight for both states,” he said.