Interestingly, these legislators are asking KCR, who is also the party president, to install his son in the top post.
A section of ruling TRS MLAs has begun demanding appointing IT and Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) as Chief Minister of Telangana, in place of his father and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR). Interestingly, these legislators are asking KCR who is also the party president to install the younger leader in the top post.
Though this talk of KTR (44) becoming the Chief Minister is not entirely new as such proposals have been in the air for the last one year, the number of MLAs making such demands has gone up in the last few days, pushing all other issues to behind. Interestingly, there is no official word on this either from the CM’s camp or KTR himself.
It was clear that KCR intends to make his only son as his political successor after the latter was made the working president of TRS after he won a landslide win in the 2018 December assembly elections. A month ago, senior TRS MLA and former minister DS Reddya Naik predicted that the time has come for KTR becoming the next CM.
This was picked by Telangana Legislative Council chairman Gutta Sukhender Reddy who said KTR had all the qualities to become the CM. Responding to some questions on their demands, in a twitter chat, KTR then said that these statements had nothing to do with him and that they may be wishing for his elevation. After that, there was some lull in such talk.
But, again, some legislators close to the young leader have revived the talk and even appealed to CM KCR to consider their plea. Bodhan TRS MLA Mohammad Shakeel this week said that “a majority of TRS MLAs were in favour of KTR becoming the new CM” and he urged KCR to “bless the young leader soon”.
Another senior TRS MLA Bajireddy Goverdhan, too, backed the demand and said that KTR should be made the CM at the earliest. Immediately, half-a-dozen MLAs from different districts have started making similar pleas. Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav, who hails from Hyderabad city, said that KTR was eminently suitable to take up the CM post.
On 21 January, Telangana Legislative Assembly deputy speaker T. Padma Rao Goud, while addressing a public meeting of railway employees in the presence of KTR, predicted that the elevation of the young leader would solve their problems. Goud even congratulated KTR for “going to become the CM of Telangana”. However, KTR didn’t respond to it. Social media is abuzz with speculation that KTR would be made the new CM on 18 February, on the occasion of KCR’s birthday. TRS leaders and sympathizers like such posts, while those from the other side are trolling. Some popular Telugu dailies and news channels, too, are doing stories on the possibility of KTR replacing his father.
No senior leader from the ruling party is ready to comment on the succession of power in the government, but privately they said that it would be possible only when there was an opportunity for KCR to play a role at the Centre. At present, there is no such chance as there is no proposal from KCR to join the BJP-led NDA.
It is also not known whether these MLAs are making ‘KTR as CM” demand based on any instructions from anywhere or that they are voicing it on their own. Sources close to KTR office told this columnist that the working president had told the legislators and other leaders not to make any demand on his elevation as CM.
Another theory is that these MLAs are raising this demand only to register their dissent over CM KCR now being inaccessible to them. “It would be much better if KTR is made our CM as he is available to us round the clock,” said a second rung leader close to deputy speaker Padma Rao Goud. It is still not clear whether KCR treats these demands as “indiscipline” in the party. But, responding to a debate in the Assembly last year, KCR made it clear then: “I am not even 66 and hale and hearty. Cannot I continue as CM another 10 years?” Everyone including KTR thumped the desks at the time, but the persistent demand from MLAs for a change of guard in the government indicates that things are not as calm as they appear to be.
Opposition parties–BJP and Congress–say that the CM is only trying to divert public attention from the burning issues by raising the phoney talk of his son becoming the new CM. BJP MP and state unit president Bandi Sanjay said that people are ready to vote out TRS in 2023 Assembly elections and KCR was trying to dilute the public anger through different methods.