First step for KTR before assuming Telangana chief minister’s post would likely be his elevation as TRS working president at next party plenary
Hyderabad: With Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao all set to take the plunge into national politics and start his nationwide tour to meet leaders of other regional parties, speculation is rife that his son and senior state minister K Taraka Rama Rao, or KTR, would succeed him as the next chief minister of Telangana.
KCR has groomed his only son to step in as his political heir from the beginning and kept enlarging his role both in the Telangana Rashtra Samiti party set-up and in the state government. Apart from shouldering the responsibility of being party general secretary, KTR is the second most important minister in terms of the number of portfolios he holds. His high-profile portfolios include industries, municipal administration and information technology among others.
Under the tutelage of his father, KTR has already proved his mettle both as a politician and administrator and also earned laurels at the international level.
The first step in the succession plan will be elevating KTR as party working president at the next party plenary in April, the party sources said. Rama Rao will be given the responsibility of leading the party in the next election at the state level as KCR will be busy with the larger national role of bringing the anti-BJP, anti-Congress regional parties to build a Third Front or the Federal Front. The party sources said that KCR will not be contesting Lok Sabha elections and will not be a candidate for the state assembly seat.
“KTR will surely be the chief ministerial face of the party in 2019 elections”, a senior party leader confided. Accordingly he will also have the final word in the choice of the party candidates.
However the succession plan will not be without its own share of hiccups, especially from KTR’s contemporary and close relative T Harish Rao.
Harish Rao is the son of KCR’s sister and has quite a formidable position in the party and the government. He has also earned a name and a fan following in the party as he stood shoulder to shoulder with his uncle during the ups and downs of the Telangana movement and holds the key portfolio of Irrigation in the state cabinet. While KTR has a suave image as an English speaking and urban face, Harish Rao is an out and out rural face of the party with an image of the one doing the hard yards.
While Harish Rao was nursing his own ambition, the majority of TRS leaders and KCR himself were clearly inclined towards KTR as his successor.
Another power centre in the party, K Kavitha, daughter of KCR, will continue to represent the party in parliament. Party sources said that she will be renominated from the Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency and is largely expected to win the seat and help her father in the post-election scenario.
Meanwhile KCR, in a bid to mobilise the support for his idea of Third Front will undertake a visit to as many as 15 states and meet leaders of regional parties. The party sources said that he will start the tour by the end of March or in early April and Telgu Desam president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will top the list.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thakre, Janata Dal Secular President Deve Gowda in Bengaluru, and Left leaders including CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri will be the other prominent leaders he will meet to discuss plans for a third front.