Hyderabad: Is Telangana set to hand over the mantle to son KCR Jr?. Has Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao decided to anoint his son and cabinet minister K.T. Rama Rao as the Chief Minister? Remarks by a few ministers and MLAs during the last couple of days have given credence to the buzz in the political circles.
While at least three ministers and few MLAs of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had dropped hints with remarks that Rama Rao has all the qualities to become the Chief Minister, Deputy Speaker T. Padma Rao went a step ahead on Thursday to address Rama Rao as the soon to become CM.
“Congratulations to KTR who will soon become the Chief Minister. I convey congratulations on behalf of the Assembly and railway employees. I hope that KTR will work to protect the railway employees after becoming the Chief Minister,” Padma Rao said at a function of the railway employees’ union.
KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, remained silent as Padma Rao addressed him as soon to become Chief Minister.
Minister for Backward Classes Welfare, Gangula Kamalakar, also stated on Thursday that KTR has all the qualities to become the Chief Minister of Telangana.
“There is no need for discussion on this issue. It is our internal matter and not related to the BJP,” he said while reacting to BJP state president Bandi Sanjay’s statement that CM Chandrasekhar Rao’s visit to the Kaleswaram project site was not to check the works or the water flow, but to pray for his son KTR before anointing him as the Chief Minister.
“KCR is our boss and if he decides to make KTR the Chief Minister, we all will accept the decision,” Kamalakar said.
Earlier, Minister for Animal Husbandry, T. Srinivas Yadav, had also added to the buzz over KTR becoming the Chief Minister. “What is wrong if KTR is made the CM,” he had asked.
“We are a responsible party. KCR has been serving the state as the Chief Minister for more than six years. When he has to take the decision (on making KTR the CM), he will take it,” the minister had said.
Health Minister Eatala Rajender too dropped hints that KCR will be handling the mantle to his son. “If the need for change arises, Chief Minister KCR will himself hand over the reins to KTR. There is no problem in a change of leadership,” he said.
On BJP criticizing KCR for not attending the Covid vaccination inaugural function on January 16, Rajender pointed out that KTR attends 99 percent of the programs.
Two MLAs, Mohammed Shakil Aamir and Bajireddy Goverdhan, also appealed to KCR to make KTR the Chief Minister. They said this would motivate young leaders in the party.
Another MLA and former minister, D. Redya Naik, had recently predicted that KCR will become the Chief Minister by March.
The TRS government last month completed two years in its second term. There have been talks in the party circles for several months about an imminent change in the leadership.
KTR holds the portfolios of industry, information technology, municipal administration and urban development. The 44-year-old is considered as number two both in the party and in the government.
There was speculation in the past that the Chief Minister will hand over the mantle to him. KTR, however, had denied this with the remark that the Chief Minister is healthy and fit.
There was a strong buzz that KTR will be taking over as the Chief Minister after KCR appointed him as the working president of the party following TRS retaining power in the state with a landslide majority in the 2018 elections.
The TRS chief wanted to focus on national politics. However, with his idea of a federal front comprising regional parties failing to take off due to BJP retaining power at the Centre with huge majority, KCR stayed in the state.