Fresh guard: KTR set to take over KCR as the next Telangana CM!


(MS Shanker)

Two ‘muhurats’ apparently have been set to install Kalvakunta Taraka Ramarao as the next chief minister of Telangana, one in next month (Feb 18) and the other in July (anytime before July 24 as it happens to be his birthday). He is the son of the chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and is presently the Municipal Urban Development & IT Minister.  He will be the youngest Chief Minister to take to reigns (at 45), once it happens, in the annals of Telugu states.

However, the party’s Secretary-General and Parliament Party leader, Dr K Keshava Rao, feels otherwise. “No, it’s a rumor and there is no truth in that,” he claims when Outlook contacted him. “I don’t think that is going to happen,” was his curt response when insisted. He wishes not to be dragged into the controversy.

But, people close to the Kalvakuntla family and privy to these developments do confirm that it’s going to happen sooner than later.  They, in fact confirm the first date as February 18, but would not like to rule out postponement to July (on the eve of KTR’s birthday – 24th).  “Why those who are in denial accept the fact that it was KCR’s decision to declare his son KTR as his political heir, just before the 2018 assembly polls? Is it not true that when supporters of T Harish Rao, a nephew of KCR and present Home Minister, was snubbed?” they ask.

Many who know KCR well and have been with him since the days of separate statehood agitation claim that he indeed made up his mind to handover the baton to his son. Several others within the party are also well aware of it.

In the past, KCR who faced criticism from the Opposition as well as some dissent voices within the party has dropped both his son and nephew from his cabinet just before the polls.  However, he made his son as Party’s Working President, sending a strong signal to Harish Rao, that he should stop day-dreaming of the CM’s post.

As a result, it was KTR, who led the party to victory along with his father for the second consecutive term after state formation. This was despite the Opposition joining hands to form a “United Front”, burying their ideological differences, especially the Cong-TDP coming together to defeat TRS in the 2018 assembly polls, but failed.  The strategic move by KCR to advance assembly polls in 2018 as against the scheduled with the general elections the following year, also paid off.  His party could register an emphatic win.  The Opposition coalition fell apart as they suffered the worst ever defeat. The Congress which won 29 seats was reduced to 19 seats in the 117-strong assembly, while the BJP from 7 to 1.

Riding on emphatic win, KCR yet again chose to induct both his son and nephew few months after reoccupying the CMO to begin second term. He had also succeeded in getting Modi government’s acceptance to advance polls.  The Opposition criticized KCR’s decision to pre-pone polls as he feared to face the wrath of Modi wave, if he has to go with the Lok Sabha polls that were held in 2019.  In the Lok Sabha polls, the TRS reduced to single digit (9), while the BJP made inroads winning a record four Lok Sabha seats.  The Congress too could get some solace after the drubbing it got in the assembly poll. It bagged three LS seats.

Party sources on condition of anonymity confess that KCR was rather forced to take the decision due to his unpredictable health issues.  KCR is a known diabetic and also reportedly undergoes weekly dialysis in a private corporate hospital as one of his kidneys became dysfunctional.  That’s why his tearing hurry. For that, he had also gone on demolish the Secretariat to build a new structure with ultra-modern facilities, as his personal astrologers pointed out some ‘vaastu dosha’ (fault line in the old structure). That may not fulfill his dream to see his son succeeding him as the next CM.  After court’s nod, he performed bhoomi pujan last year hoping it will be completed it in a year and half or so.

But, KCR has no patience and he wanted smooth transfer of power and also a true ‘gift’ to his son, KTR, before his 45th birthday.