New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh, a crucial state electorally for the Congress, Sunday got the maximum representation of six in the rejig of the council of ministers, with five new faces and one elevated to the cabinet rank.
M.M. Pallam Raju, a Congress MP from coastal Andhra, has been elevated to cabinet rank from being minister of state in the defence ministry. He is the new human resource development minister replacing Kapil Sibal.
Telugu actor-turned politician K. Chiranjeevi, who merged his Praja Rajyam Party's 18 MLAs with the Congress last year, has become minister of state with independent charge.
The Congress fortunes in the southern state have dipped in recent years with the breakaway YSR Congress party of Jaganmohan Reddy denting its cadre and support base.
Jaganmohan had parted ways with the Congress a year ago after his aspiration to be the state chief minister following his father and former CM Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's death in an air crash in 2009.
Others to be inducted as ministers of state are Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy from Kurnool, Sarve Satyanarayana from Malkajgiri, Porika Balram Naik from Mahabubabad, and Killi Kruparani from Srikakulam.
The three regions of the state -- Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema -- have been given representation.
The state has been in the throes of a sustained and often violent popular movement for the creation of a separate state of Telangana.