Hyderabad: An unusual enthusiasm to see KTR as the chief minister is visible among the party cadre and leaders. The legislators are especially eager to see the generational shift in the party and the government.
Though the talk that Chief Minister KCR will soon pass the baton to son KTR (as IT and Municipal Administration Minister KT Ramarao is often addressed) has been there around for quite some time, the recent groundswell of support to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in the municipal elections has further amplified it.
Many consider KCR’s withdrawal from campaigning as another attempt to test if the elections could be won without his campaigning, and demonstrate to the public that KTR is an equally able and astute politician as he is. Since it is proved beyond doubt now, they say, KTR has passed another crucial test. Many legislators and senior leaders feel more comfortable interacting with KTR. KTR has succeeded in bridging the gap between a too tall KCR and a relatively younger generation of party leaders and legislators, said Koneti Konappa, TRS MLA from Kagaznagar.
“KTR has become the party’s ears and eyes. Many young leaders feel at home with KTR than the chief minister, who is the tallest leader. For all those who need a sympathetic ear, KTR is there. His ability to address the local issues and his persuasive skill are well acknowledged. He won accolades even on international fora like GES 2017 and WEF 2020. So, this is the reason for eagerness among the party leaders and legislators alike to see KTR as the chief minister,” MLA Konappa said.
Then why the delay?
While some people attribute this delay to KCR’s nephew and finance minister Tanneer Harish Rao factor, those, who have been observing KCR’s style of functioning dismiss it and assert that it’s no longer an issue if the TRS supremo were to declare KTR as his successor.
Media has been portraying Harish Rao as the potential contender for the uncle’s legacy. No doubt Harish is one of the charismatic leaders the Telangana movement has produced. But this is unlikely to upset KCR's plans of succession against the backdrop of successive victories for the party.
The recent municipal elections have proved again that Telangana people are solidly behind KCR. These electoral victories are not without a message. These victories have neutralised two things, murmurs within the party, and possible threats from opposition parties.
Telangana is passing through a curious phase in its political evolution. Though the Congress party lost its hold six years ago following the carving out of Telangana state, space thus created has not been filled yet. The BJP, despite having a formidable backing from the Centre, is not able to step into the Congress’ shoe. On the other side, a rival regional party has not emerged.
This is a typical Odisha-like trajectory, where liquidation of Congress has not resulted in the emergence of either BJP as the opposition party or a rival regional party.
BJD led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been in power for two decades without a break. In states such as West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, the space left by the Congress is occupied either by more than one regional parties or a national party. This is not happening in Telangana. A rival to TRS is yet to be born.
As for the delay in implementing the succession plan, a senior leader's guess is that KCR is waiting for the right opportunity to launch himself into national politics.
“Once he takes a decision, KTR would become the chief minister. KCR is testing waters. The non-BJP chief ministers’ conclave he is planning on CAA might become the launch pad. Who knows he may become the rallying point for the non-BJP chief ministers, like NTR who hosted non-Congress leaders’ conference in Vijayawada which led to the formation of National Front in 1989,” he said.