Revival of district panels leaves TRS leaders perplexed

As many as 21 MLAs, 3 MPs and 2 MLCs were appointed to these posts

HYDERABAD: Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s choice for district party president posts on Wednesday came as a big surprise to ministers, party MLAs, MLCs, MPs and stirred up a debate in the TRS circles about the 'strategy' behind this sudden move. As many as 21 MLAs, 3 MPs and 2 MLCs were appointed to these posts.

MLAs and MLCs, who were in the race for ministerial berths anticipating Cabinet reshuffle anytime, now lost hopes of making it to the coveted posts after they were made district presidents.

There were also fears that they may be replaced in the 2023 Assembly polls and will be confined to party activities. Ministers who are calling the shots in their respective districts at present are calculating the pros and cons of alternate leadership emerging in districts in the form of party's district presidents.

When the TRS was formed in 2001 with the sole purpose of achieving statehood for Telangana, Chandrashekar Rao appointed district party presidents promptly. He continued this system even after the TRS came to power in 2014. He appointed district party presidents in April 2015 and subsequently abolished this system in 2017. There have been no district party presidents since then.

Although no reasons were cited by the party for scrapping the system in 2017, it is widely believed in the TRS circles that this system led to a tussle between district in-charge ministers and district party presidents who tried to gain the political upper hand over the other in their respective districts. The party avoided 'dual power centres' in districts and gave a free hand to ministers all these days.

Now, Chandrashekar Rao revived this system all of a sudden leaving party leaders clueless on how 'group politics' could be controlled in districts at a time when 2023 Assembly polls are fast approaching. The TRS is already witnessing 'group politics' in almost all the districts with differences between ministers and MLAs in respective districts. Now, the majority of the district presidents appointed are MLAs in 21 out of total 33 districts. There are three MPs (two Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha). As elected members, they hold considerable political influence on respective constituencies and districts. Speculation is rife that MLAs were given priority in these posts to ensure that they do not leave the party and join opposition parties in case they are denied tickets in 2023 Assembly polls for any reason.

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