Hyderabad, Feb 5: Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is so confident of retaining power in Telangana that its leader and cabinet minister K. T. Rama Rao has gone to the extent of throwing a challenge at the main opposition Congress party that if the Congress wins the 2019 polls, he will quit the politics.
The son of TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao dared state Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy to accept the challenge and declared that if TRS retains power, he will retire from politics.
The next day Uttam Kumar Reddy announced that he and his wife and sitting legislator Padmavathi Reddy would retire from politics if the Congress did not come to power in next elections.
However, he said KCR must also announce that he, along with his son KCR, daughter K. Kavitha and nephew T. Harish Rao will retire from politics if TRS loses the elections.
Harish is also a minister in KCR’s cabinet while Kavitha is a member of Lok Sabha from Nizamabad.
Uttam said that he is unconditionally accepting the challenge posed by KTR. However, he said that the Chief Minister himself should make the announcement of retirement from politics of his entire family if Congress comes to power in Telangana.
He said KTR’s challenge only reflected his arrogance and the power of arrogance has turned TRS leaders blind to the extent that they were not willing to see the sufferings of common people.
“No section of the society benefitted from the TRS regime during the last four years, and except for four members of just one family, no one gained from the formation of Telangana State,” said Uttam.
He was confident the Congress would win more than 70 seats in next elections, irrespective of whether they are held in December or next year.
By throwing a counter challenge, the Congress leader has tried to fire a salvo at KCR family.
The opposition party plans to make the ‘family rule’ a major issue in the next elections. The Congress leaders are likely to make step up attacks in the coming days to ‘expose’ how the power is concentrated in the hands of just one family.
However, TRS is not ready to give any importance to the rivals. A few days after KTR’s challenge, his sister Kavitha predicted that the next elections will be one-sided.
The ruling party admits that Congress will be its main rival but it does not see any challenge from other parties including BJP.
With the agenda of building ‘Bangaru Telangana’, the TRS is confident of a smooth sailing.
However, this may be easier said than done, if the ground situation is any indication. The party may face huge challenge due to internal fighting in many constituencies.
There is already heartburn among TRS leaders associated with the party since its inception and those who actively participated in Telangana movement as the leaders who switched loyalties from other parties after 2014 elections have been rewarded with key posts.
In 2014 elections, TRS had bagged 63 seats in 120-member assembly. However, with about 20 legislators from TDP, Congress and YSR Congress joining its ranks, its strength crossed 80. While this has considerably weakened the opposition, it also created new problems for the party leading to groupism.
The differences among TRS leaders in some districts already came to fore. Political observers say there is also resentment in a section of party leaders over the manner in which the power is concentrated in the hands of KCR family.
They feel that all key decisions are taken by KCR, his son, daughter and nephew. KTR is handling several key portfolios including industry, information technology and municipal administration. Some ministers even feel helpless as key files in their departments move only with the consent of KTR, who not only acts as defacto CM but also convenes meetings of various ministries.
KCR, KTR and loyalists claim that they will get another mandate as people are happy with the government. They always highlight improvement in power production and supply, welfare schemes, flagship programmes like Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagiratha and irrigation projects as their achievements.
Political analysts say given the internal fight in the ruling party and lack of decentralization of power, the going may not be easy for TRS.