Attempts to promote KTR as successor gather pace

Hyderabad, July 23: Telangana Home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy’s statement last week triggered a debate in Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) over who will be the successor of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

In a development seen as significant in political circles, Narasimha Reddy said that K. T. Rama Rao should be made the chief minister. This is the first time that a state minister mooted KCR’s son as the chief minister.

“The state will move forward fast on the development front if IT minister K.T. Rama Rao becomes Chief Minister of Telangana state,” Narasimha Reddy said at a public meeting in Sircilla, the constituency represented by KTR.

With elections less than a year away, this statement has sparked speculations if KCR will crown his son in 2019. Has Narasimha Reddy spoke on his own or at the instance of KCR? Will this statement anger Harish Rao, whose supporters see him as the successor of KCR? Will Kavita accept her brother as the next CM? All these questions are being intensely debated in the TRS circles.
Narasimha Reddy is one of the long-time loyalists of KCR. A key figure of Telangana movement, he was rewarded with the key portfolio by KCR after the party came to power in the newly formed state. Political observers say he would not have spoken on his own on such a key issue.

This is being viewed as an attempt by TRS chief to see the reaction of the party cadre to the idea of KTR as CM.

Though KTR had stated on different occasions that KCR will continue as the CM, the developments of over last few months indicate otherwise.

The idea of a national-level front as an alternative to both BJP and Congress, mooted by KCR in March is seen as an attempt to prepare the ground for KTR’s crowning. The TRS chief has already indicated that he is ready to lead the front and will even be prepared to discharge any responsibility to at the Centre.

Political analysts say if the national-level front becomes a reality, not only KCR will move to the national politics but will also send all those leaders, who may create hurdles in KTR’s elevation, to Parliament. They may include Harish Rao, who is being described by many in the party, as more popular leader than KTR.

Ever since TRS assumed power, KTR hogged all the limelight. Initially made a minister for information technology and panchayat raj, he was later given other key portfolios like industry, urban development and mines.

As KCR keeps himself away from most of the events, it was KTR who was serving as defacto CM. With his sophistication and oratory skills, the young leader became a darling of the industry and business and won accolades at international events including Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). He also effectively uses Twitter to immediately respond to various issues and people’s complaints.

All this lend credence to the talk in TRS circles that it will not be long before KTR is made the chief minister.

With the TRS facing no major hurdle to retain power, KCR feels 2019 would be the right time to handover the mantle to his son. TRS leaders say there is no anti-incumbency and people are happy over various development and welfare schemes launched during last four years. Since the anti-incumbency may set in during the next five-year term, KCR is keen to see KTR as the successor in 2019.

It was no wonder that before Narasimha Reddy made the statement, another minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav had almost equated KTR with KCR.

During a meeting in Telangana Bhavan last month to admit leaders and activists of various parties into the TRS, Srinivas Yadav had said, “If you tell something to KTR, it amounts to telling CM. There is no difference.”

The statements by the two ministers have already triggered murmuring in some sections of the party. The developments are being keen watched by Harish Rao and his supporters. KCR’s nephew sees him as the natural successor as he played a key role during Telangana movement and considered more popular among people. Harish Rao group already said to have making its strategy to oppose any move to elevate KTR. That the cousins don’t see eye to eye is known to all in the party. Analysts say Harish Rao will become active in the coming days to strengthen his claim to be the next chief minister.

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