YS Jaganmohan Reddy was sworn in Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium here on Thursday at a ceremony attended by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao and DMK leader MK Stalin as guests of honour.

Governor ESL Narasimhan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Reddy. Later, after the new Chief Minister saw off the Governor, Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious leaders blessed the Chief Minister.

In his brief message, MK Stalin congratulated Jaganmohan Reddy and expressed the confidence that he would live up to his father’s (the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s) legacy.

‘Historic occasion’

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao said it was a historic occasion for the people of the two Telugu States and also the Telugu-speaking people all over the world. He said Jaganmohan Reddy had proved his mettle over the past nine to ten years and he would provide clean and efficient administration in Andhra Pradesh. It would also usher in an era of cooperation, not confrontation, between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Rao said.

He said the full utilisation of the Godavari waters was the first priority of the Jaganmohan Reddy government as well as the Telangana government. He said the Telangana people as well as the Telangana government would fully cooperate with the new government and extend all help, to the mutual benefit of both the Telugu States. He blessed Jaganmohan Reddy and expressed the hope that he would remain the Chief Minister for the next three to four terms.

New CM’s promises

In his response, the new Chief Minister thanked the guests – KCR and MK Stalin – for their kind words and expressed his gratitude to the people of Andhra Pradesh for giving him a massive mandate – 151 out of 175 Assembly seats and 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats. He promised that he would provide clean, corruption-free administration.

Reddy appended his first signature on the file hiking the pension for the aged from the present ₹2,000 to ₹2,250 a month and said it would be gradually enhanced to ₹3,000 over the next few years. The enhanced pension will come into effect in June itself, he added.

“The two-page manifesto issued by the YSR Congress Party is to me the Bhagavadgita, the Bible and the Koran. Every word of it will be honoured, I assure you,” he told the people.

He said in every village, for every 50 houses, a ‘grama volunteer’ would be appointed with a salary of ₹5,000 a month. A village secretariat will be set up in each village, with jobs for ten local youths. These volunteers and secretariat employees will provide services to the rural people and all government schemes will be implemented through them at the village level.

“When the Telugu Desam was in power, the Janmabhoomi committees used to play havoc in the villages and the entire administration was corrupt from top to bottom. I shall cleanse the whole system,” he said.

Reddy said more than five lakh jobs would be created in the villages with these steps and a call centre would be set up with direct link to the Chief Minister's office, to address complaints.

Anti-corruption drive

He said all the suspicious contracts given by the TDP government would be reviewed and through the process of reverse tendering, the corruption of the TDP government would be exposed.

A judicial commission will be set up with a sitting High Court judge to review all contracts awarded by the previous government. All suggestions made by the inquiry commission will be complied with.

The new Chief Minister also issued a warning to “the yellow media in the State” — newspapers and TV channels partial to the Telugu Desam Party — that if they distort news and misrepresent the facts, defamation suits would be filed against them. He named the largest circulated Telugu daily, another prominent Telugu daily and a prominent Telugu TV channel and publicly warned them.

Reddy said his government would live up to the expectations of the people and implement “Navaratnalu” (nine gems or nine promises made in the YSR Congress manifesto) in letter and spirit. Implementation of prohibition in three phases is one of the important promises made by the YSR Congress Party.

Some Ministers from Telangana, the family members of YS Jaganmohan Reddy – his mother Vijayamma, wife Bharati, sister Sharmila, and his two daughters – witnessed the ceremony.

Former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu did not attend the meet, though he was invited over the phone by Jaganmohan Reddy. It is learnt that he conveyed his greetings through a team of TDP leaders.