Deputy Speaker Padma Rao on Friday joined the list of ministers Etala Rajendar, V. Srinivas Goud, Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Gangula Kamalakar and Legislative Council Chairman Gutta Sukhender, who have in the past said that party working president and minister K.T. Rama Rao has the capabilities to become the Chief Minister and should be indeed given the position “soon”.
Addressing the inauguration of an office building of the South Central Railway Employees’ Sangh, Padma Rao said, “I congratulate KTR, who is going to become the Chief Minister very soon… on behalf of the Assembly and railway employees. I wish KTR should safeguard the interests of railway employees after becoming Chief Minister.”
Unlike in the past when both Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and his son Rama Rao dismissed such talk as “mere speculation”, Rama Rao, who was present at the meeting when Padma Rao made these remarks, did not react.
In the past few days, MLAs Bajireddy Govardhan and Shakeel Ahmed have also joined the TRS chorus to amplify the voice to see Rama Rao as Chief Minister soon. The desire of TRS MLAs to see Rama Rao as Chief Minister increased after health minister Etala Rajendar, in an interview with a regional channel, said, “almost 99% of the government works are supervised by KTR currently.”
With senior leader Rajendar, who reportedly maintains a cordial relation with other seniors of the party, confirming the speculation, other leaders too have joined the chorus and are now publicly stating their private intent to see Rama Rao as Chief Minister.
Opposition parties are observing the situation in TRS keenly. Congress leaders including Telangana Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said that any change in the Chief Minister was an internal party issue of the TRS, but if Chandrashekar Rao made way for his son, it proved that he too agrees with the growing public perception that he was a failure in governing the state.
BJP state president Bandi Sanjay said that Chandrashehar Rao’s decision to make Rama Rao the Chief Minister was an internal matter of the TRS, but added that the BJP would be happy and welcome it if a Dait was made the Chief Minister as per Chandrashekar Rao’s promise.
However, some senior TRS leaders, who are not coming in front of the media with their opinion, privately confessed that it was not a good decision for the party.
“If KCR made KTR the CM, the Cabinet would be automatically dissolved and a new Cabinet would be formed. This is a risky move when some leaders are waiting to create trouble. They can divide the party and create a rebel group of MLAs,” a senior leader said.
Several MLAs, discussing the issue, said, “KCR should not make KTR the CM in the present critical political scenario, as the young leader cannot handle the challenges.”
One of them also wondered that if Rama Rao is made CM, who will become the party working president position? Supposing K. Kavitha gets the post, what about minister Harish Rao? What would be his position in a KTR-led government?
Some leaders, who maintain proximity with Chandrasekhar Rao, said Planning Commission vice-chairman B. Vinod Kumar may join the Cabinet if Rama Rao becomes CM, in which case Kavita will handle the party as its working president.
Subsequently, Harish Rao could be made Planning Commission vice-chairman and told to continue his political journey with Chandrashekar Rao.
“If this happens, the BJP will get an even stronger impact and response from people when they call us a nepotistic, family-owned business,” a TRS leader said.
A few of such critics aside, the bulk of the TRS is euphoric about the possibility. “If KTR becomes CM and KCR shifts to national politics, it will make the party stronger and the state more developed,” said another leader.