It is often said, especially in the Indian political circles, that a father blindly loves his children. India has borne witness to the consequences of this blind love since 1966 when Indira Gandhi first came to power. Fast-forwarding to the year 2020, wherein, after numerous defeats and debacles, the same Congress is unable to find a non-Gandhi meritorious leader in the entire party, Telangana has emerged as the most recent contender of this practice. Taking a cue from the rich political tradition of dynastic succession, Chief Minister and TRS founder K Chandrashekar Rao is all set to hand over the guard of Telangana Rashtra Samithi to his son, KT Rama Rao (KTR).
The political corridors in the state are abuzz with this development, with sources pinning down the time frame of this transition as early as next month. A senior cabinet minister said, “Yes, the next CM is KTR. It will happen mostly in February. They are discussing within their family. Many changes will take place in the cabinet too.”
Commenting on the development, Health Minister Etela Rajender said, “There is a chance (of transfer of power), why not? There is nothing wrong with it. Ninety-nine per cent of the programmes are being reviewed by KTR in our government. He also participated in the COVID-19 vaccination programme on the behalf of his father, the Chief Minister.”
It is pertinent to note that KCR’s declining health has led to a rapid rise of KTR. The Chief Minister has been away from public life since the COVID-19 lockdown. Even though he is a young leader, KTR is already at the second position in the state government. He has already been handed over the plump cabinet positions of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Industries and IT and Commerce. All decisions of strategic importance are taken place after consultation with KTR. Thus, this news of the reins being handed over to the fabled son is disappointing but not surprising, if anything, it is anti-climactic.
According to party sources, the members were initially divided over the issue of succession and preferred KCR’s continuation till the next assembly elections. However, many now believe that KTR’s rise is natural. Moreover, they also feel that KTR will focus on national politics once he is in the position of power.
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Commenting on this, Congress spokesperson Dr Sravan Dasoju called KCR and KTR “two sides of the same coin”. He said, “One small family is running the state. How does it matter if power changes from one head to another? People want the demolition of dictatorial politics. At least, the new CM has to listen to the people and strengthen the democracy.”
The BJP meanwhile has criticised this move of choosing a Chief Ministerial face from the family. Former BJP MP and senior leader Vivek Venkata Swamy said, “Anyway this is a last tenure for TRS. Let them do whatever they want as they cannot do it in the future. One thing KCR has to keep in mind that he promised to make Dalit CM in Telangana. Now, he is one making family CM.”
Speculations are also rife with the fact that BJP’s stupendous performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections has worried the party. To cement their position in Telangana politics, TRS has resorted to quickly make changes which they believe will elevate their standing in the state.