The political corridors in Hyderabad are abuzz with rumours about a change of guard in Telangana as chief minister and TRS founder K Chandrashekar Rao, may give up his chair for his son KT Rama Rao. If sources are to be believed, the transition may happen as soon as next month.
"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,” a senior Cabinet minister, who did not wish to be named, told News18.
In a recent interview with 10TV News, Health Minister Etela Rajender called the development “nothing wrong” as most of the Telangana government’s decisions are being taken after consultation with KTR.
"There is a chance (of transfer of power), why not? There is nothing wrong with it. Ninety-nine percent 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. Whether KCR attended or not is not an issue here,” Rajender, an important backward classes leader and one of the founding members of the TRS, said.
The minister’s statement has seemingly put an end to all the speculations that have been rife since 2014. KCR, 60, has been away from public life since the coronavirus lockdown and his son has taken up most of his responsibilities, leading up to speculations that KTR may succeed his father during the current term of the assembly, which ends in December 2023.
Sources in the TRS said that initially the party was divided over the issue of succession and the majority had favoured KCR's continuation as the CM till the next assembly elections. However, recently many in private have admitted that KTR’s rise will be natural succession of power. Besides leading the party, KCR may begin his focus on the national politics, sources added.
Sources claimed that it is now only a matter of time before the succession happens.
The advanced timeline of the transition could also have something to do with the recently held Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections in which the BJP fared much better than in previous years, triggering panic in the ruling TRS that the saffron party is getting success in making inroads.
On the other hand, KCR's nephew and state finance minister, T Harish Rao, who was believed to be one of the contenders for the top post in Telangana, has seen a diminished role of late. The Chief Minister’s daughter K Kavitha has recently entered the Upper House in the state legislature after her shocking loss in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Nizamabad.
Political analyst Venu Gopal Reddy said Rajender, a non-KCR family member, making the announcement gives KTR more legitimacy. “KCR might spend some time chalking out a plan for national politics. The elections for the Assembly and Parliament may take place together in early 2024. If there is a need, KCR will go with the BJP to come back to power in the state.”
Meanwhile, the state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy refused to react and said that developments are TRS’ internal matter and “has nothing to do with us”.
Congress spokesperson Dr Sravan Dasoju called KCR and KTR “two sides of the same coin”. “One small family is running the state. How does it matter if power changes from one head to another? People want demolition of dictatorial politics. At least, the new CM has to listen to the people and strengthen the democracy.”
The BJP berated the ruling party for choosing a chief ministerial nominee “from within the family”. 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.”