K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), the CM of Telangana and the patriarch of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), who dreamt of becoming Prime Minister by floating a third front, is so scared of the duo of Modi-Shah that he has even refused to hand over the CM chair to his son.
“Rao asked the party cadre not to make controversial statements about the change of guard giving scope for speculation and confusion. He also said he is in the pink of health and would continue as CM for ten more years,” said a source who was present at the state executive committee meeting.
KCR, who was dreaming of the PM chair a few years ago, is not ready to leave the CM chair because he fears that BJP led by Modi-Shah would crush his party in the upcoming assembly election. The Prime Ministerial ambitions of KCR was crushed by Modi-Shah in the 2019 general election when the saffron party not only came to parliament with only an even greater number of seats but also won four seats (out of 17) and around 20 per cent of votes in Telangana.
BJP performed exceptionally well in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election as well and TRS was reduced to only 56 seats (out of 150) compared to the 99 seats in the last election while BJP surged from four to 48 seats.
Now KCR is scared that if he handovers the CM chair to his son KT Rama Rao, a resurgent BJP would win the 2023 assembly election with allegations of nepotism.
A few weeks ago, the political corridors of Telangana were abuzz with the talks that KCR would soon give the CM chair to son to move the politics of central government. In January, 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 had 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.”
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 in the state after consultation with KTR. Thus, this news of the reins being handed over to the fabled son of KCR was disappointing but not surprising.
The BJP leaders had gone all after KCR when the speculations were rife with the succession plans. 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.”
The rise of the BJP in Telangana in the last few years has forced KCR to make calculated moves. A few months ago he praised PM Modi’s Central Vista project when most of the opposition and regional party leaders were opposing it.
Now, fearing the vehement criticism from the duo of Modi-Shah, KCR has dropped the plan to anoint his son as the CM. The saffron party has not only kept itself free from nepotism but is also ensuring that other parties follow the same or bear the repercussions.