Harish Rao sends subtle message to KCR

Hyderabad, Sep 25: Is T. Harish Rao planning a big move to counter K.Chandrasekhar Rao’s efforts to make his son K.T. Rama Rao his successor? The question is being debated in the political circles in the wake of a statement made by Harish Rao.

The caretaker irrigation minister created a political flutter on Friday by stating that he feels like quitting politics. “I feel like quitting politics now when I am enjoying enormous love and tremendous support. I will continue to serve you irrespective of whether I will be in politics or not,” he said while addressing people at a function in Ibrahimpur, a village in his Siddipet constituency.

The occasion was the minister’s felicitation for undertaking development works in the village which he has adopted.

The villagers took out a huge rally in support of Harish Rao and passed a unanimous resolution that they would vote only for the minister in the upcoming election as a token of gratitude.

Enthused by the massive public response, Harish Rao turned emotional and told people that he can never repay their gratitude. He went on to say that he feels like quitting politics. His statement created flutter in Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) at a time when it is gearing up for the ensuing Assembly elections.

Harish Rao’s statement, being seen as significant in the backdrop of his supporters claiming he was being sidelined, created a political furore. His supporters believe that KCR is sidelining him to clear the way for elevation of his son.

Their view gained strength when Harish Rao was given minimal role in the conduct of major rally of TRS at Kongarkalan on September 2. KTR had shouldered much of the responsibility.

TRS cadre and leaders were rattled by Harish’s statement. The television channels started running stories about the reported power struggle within the party. Realising that this could have negative impact on the party, Harish came with a statement clarifying his remarks.

He clarified that he was overwhelmed by the excessive admiration showered on him by the people of his constituency. He said that no motive be attached to his remarks as they were made in emotion.

Harish Rao, who is KCR’s nephew, stated in an interview to a channel that he was not unhappy as KCR has given him ticket again from Siddpet and he is confident of retaining the seat with a bumper majority. He pointed out that five villages have already passed unanimous resolutions that they will vote for him.

“I was touched by their gesture and I said I would always cherish the memory irrespective of whether he was in or out of politics. I told them that I will never forget the honour that I got till my last breath,” he said.

More senior in the party than KTR and considered more popular than KCR’s son, Harish had been keeping a low profile ever since TRS formed the first government in newly created state in 2014. That Harish has serious differences with KTR is an open secret in the party.

Harish, however, never expressed his views publicly. Whenever he was asked about the differences with KTR, he denied it. During recent interviews when Harish was asked if he would work in KTR’s cabinet, his reply was that he will obey the directions of his boss KCR.

However with his latest statement, Harish is believed to have sent a subtle message to KCR that he would quit politics rather than accepting KTR as the chief minister or party president.

Harish is no ordinary leader of TRS. Active in the party since its inception, he has been one of the key pillars of the party while KTR entered politics on the eve of 2009 elections.

Ever since KTR returned to India after quitting his job in US and became active in the party, Harish Rao began to see him as a threat to his political ambitions.

Harish felt further alienated with KTR becoming the number two in both the government and the party.

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