Hyderabad: It took all of a week for Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and TRS supremo to win the battle of wits and to prove who calls the political shots in Telangana. Barely a week after his dismissal from cabinet, former minister and the imagined focal and rallying point of all opposition to the TRS big boss, Eatala Rajender has decided to waive a white handkerchief and declare he has no intention of going to war against his leader.
Speculation has been rife all these days that Eatala could go on a warpath against the TRS, and at some point, step it up by forcing yet another bye-election in the state. It has been the hope of many in the opposition, be it the BJP or the Congress, both nursing their wounds of electoral defeats in the two graduate MLC polls and Nagarjunsagar Assembly bye-poll, and others that such a confrontation could snowball into a big gamechanger, with all those opposed to K. Chandrashekar Rao’s leadership could forge a bond together and give a lethal blow.
Not to be. The emphatic and anxious messaging emerging out of the Eatala camp now emphasized that Eatala has decided to not resign from his Legislative position or the party, not only because he is unsure of the verdict of the bye-elections, but also because there has been no widespread support from either within the party or the opposition space matching his anticipations. The number of dissents within TRS that Eatala had hoped would reach out to him has clearly not happened, which has rankled the former health minister.
From the start of his co-journey with the TRS, Eatala Rajendar knew about how Mr Rao could deal with any potential dissenter, overt or covert. Mr Rajendar has also witnessed the quiet burials of political careers of those who might have had any thoughts of upstaging the leader.
Mr Eatala Rajendar, quite clearly overestimating both his own strength, and the purported anti-TRS emotions amongst the people, and buoyed by the unsustainable performance of the BJP in rapid succession at Dubbak and GHMC, bit more than he could chew. He began to a give a sporadic statement, timed for maximum impact, to showcase himself as the outsider-within and the rebel with a cause.
The TRS sources, closely aware of the minutest developments on la affair Eatala, said, “the party is now filled with josh after the MLC and Nagarjuna Sagar polls. When a veteran like Jana Reddy was forced to bite the dust, what chance does Eatala have? A week away from the government must have helped wisdom dawn on him. He dare not fight a by poll against the TRS, which still enjoys widespread popular support. Across Telangana, there is confidence in KCR’s rule, his schemes are popular and his handling of Coronavirus has been better than any other CM in India.”
TRS sources revealed that Pragathi Bhavan was aware and keeping a track of how Eatala Rajendar has steadfastly worked on maintaining a good rapport with the BJP high command and Delhi leaders, and was working to launch a political party with its backing if BJP had won in West Bengal.
“The reason, as well as timing for the sacking of Eatala Rajendar, was that the TRS supremo was waiting for the Bengal elections. The moment it became clear the BJP was losing in Bengal, he was axed from the Cabinet, with his portfolio removed prior to set the ball rolling. BJP’s performance led to the Central leaders abandoning the idea of supporting Eatala for now,” they said.
Eatala realised that without BJP support, it was nearly impossible for him to start and build a new regional party. History of Telangana dissenters breaking away from powerful parties to establish new parties must have helped Eatala realise the futility of this misadventure.
As most politically aware can recall, TDP leader and former home minister T. Devender Goud episode, who launched a Nava Telangana party only to merge it shortly afterwards with Tollywood megastar’s Praja Rajyam party, which itself got defeated in Assembly election in 2009 and merged into Congress subsequently was exemplar enough.
Not wishing to turn a Quixote, Eatala, a careful politician and a meticulous businessman, conducted a survey on his chances if he pressed for a bye-poll in Huzurabad. The results he got, according to sources in his camp, were shocking for him.
Most people gave a thumbs up for the TRS party, and few declared an intent to vote for Eatala, including a large number of those who sympathised with him, revealed his associate and former market committee chairman of Karimnagar district.
The Election Commission of India too seems to have decided against conducting any by-poll until the Covid pandemic situation is fully under control. According to Eatala’s followers, since there is no chance for an actual by-poll to be conducted within the next six months or more, there is little point for him to resign from his MLA post.
Being in the middle of an ongoing investigation, and a larger pandemic and economic crisis, Eatala is unsure of how to raise financial resources needed to run a party if he were to exercise the option, or even fight the bye-poll when it happens against the might of the TRS.
Confirming the beginning of the end of the saga, senior TRS leaders revealed that Eatala had sent enough signals with his small wish list to end the confrontation. He would continue in the party as an MLA if the party chief called him back and sought an explanation about the land grabbing allegations. He is not even insisting on an impractical demand like getting back his cabinet post.
“The best he can get is the equivalent of former deputy chief minister Rajaiah, who lost his cabinet in TRS’s first government 2014 and stayed on despite being side-lined. Having to choose between a Devender Goud and a Rajaiah, it seems Eatala has chosen to eat humble pie and surrender,” they said.
Revenue officers, when contacted by Deccan Chronicle, said that the probe committee also slowed down its work after High Court directives on the urgency of the matter.
Sources also revealed that two key leaders and a very close aide of the Chief Minister were collectively trying to convince him over the next action in the Eatala Rajendar episode. Having convinced the Chief Minister that Eatala had surrendered, they are requesting him to allow truce a chance.
All leaders, including opposition parties, are also waiting for the next move of the Chief Minister in the Eatala episode....