How Telangana CM's son KTR became the 'Agony Anna' of his state
There is speculation about a possible Uddhav vs Raj Thackeray, or a Stalin vs Alagiri kind of situation between KTR and cousin in near future.
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He is Telangana's "Agony Anna". Have a problem with a clogged drain or pig menace in your locality, tag @KTRTRS on Twitter and chances are that he will respond. Fair enough too, after all he is Telangana's municipal administration minister.
You are in possession of a video or a photograph of a policeman beating up a citizen, tag @KTRTRS and he will forward your tweet to the DGP of Telangana, urging him to take immediate action. Very few in any case know that a gentleman called Nayani Narasimha Reddy is the state home minister.
You want the government to provide financial assistance to someone who needs a surgery. Yes, tag the same Twitter handle with 3,38,000 followers and if he happens not to miss your tweet, the needful will be done. And yes, he is not the health minister either.
Officially, Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao is IT, industry, municipal administration, urban development, mining and NRI affairs minister in dad Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao's cabinet.The corridors of power have speculated about a possible 'Uddhav vs Raj Thackeray', or an 'MK Stalin vs Alagiri' kind of situation emerging between KTR and Harish Rao in due course of time
But it is pretty obvious that he is pretty much the ministry. Barring cousin Harish Rao, who is an efficient irrigation minister, the rest of the ministers merely fill up the slots. Most of them do not have a profile outside their districts, leave alone Telangana, nor have the ability to articulate the government's vision.
Which is perhaps why during every visit to Delhi, he is "Mr Hyderabad". He is Telangana's point person in North Block and South Block when he meets the likes of Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman or Piyush Goyal. Sharing the Telangana CM's postal address gives him access and clout and the fact that he is equally proficient in English and Hindi enables him to connect better to the powerful in the NDA cabinet.
Since last week, KTR has been seen in a political avatar too. He has been touring different districts, interacting with the second rung leadership. The occasions were used by several leaders to praise KTR to the skies, making it quite apparent that they would want to be on the right side of the rising son. Which is why the buzz in the ruling Telangana Rashtra samithi has grown stronger that an elevation perhaps as working president is due during the party plenary on April 21.
Not that KCR in the past has shown inclination to pass on the baton and the party chatter may just be one way to test the waters. KCR himself has dismissed talk of a working president as speculation.
But why KCR needs to settle the succession issue sooner than later is because the corridors of power have speculated about a possible "Uddhav vs Raj Thackeray", or an "MK Stalin vs Alagiri" kind of situation emerging between KTR and Harish Rao in due course of time.
The latter, senior to KTR in the TRS, is known to be a smart political manager. He is articulate in Telugu and Hindi, young and connects well with the TRS rank and file. But senior politicians close to the family affirm KTR is the chosen one and neither Harish nor KTR's sister Kavitha who is Lok Sabha MP from Nizamabad, will lay claim to the throne.
What this will do is that KTR, who till now speaks more on behalf of the government of Telangana, will start speaking the political language. If the elevation takes place, he for all practical purposes will lead the TRS in the 2019 battlefield. Stalin did so in Tamil Nadu while making it clear that if the DMK came to power, dad Karunanidhi will be chief minister. A similar arrangement could be articulated during the campaign to ensure against any kind of internal sabotage.
If an elevation were to take place next week, it would seem the two ruling "khandaans" in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are keeping pace with each other. Chandrababu Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, who is TDP general secretary, was this month drafted into the cabinet as IT minister.If the elevation takes place, he for all practical purposes will lead the TRS in the 2019 battlefield.
The comparisons between the two scions at the government-level are just about starting, and if KTR gets a top party position, it will set off a KTR vs Lokesh battle at the party level too.
The transition in Andhra is pretty clear that Naidu would like to see Lokesh as CM post-2019, provided the TDP gets a second successive term and the father moves to New Delhi to be part of the NDA cabinet.
In Telangana, KCR would want daughter Kavitha to get her share of the pie in New Delhi, while he and KTR lord over Hyderabad. Sending KTR to Delhi is ruled out as it would make him lose control over state politics.
But can KTR handle so much given that his plate is already overloaded? More so, since the film buff in him likes to catch a movie to destress and attend his daughter's parent-teacher meeting at school.
The jury is out on that one, but clearly the family is in "yeh dil maange more" mode.
On April 8, KTR tweeted an anonymous quote that showed a philosophical side to him and said: "Resonates with me".
Resonates with me👇 pic.twitter.com/MiteRPgdC8— KTR (@KTRTRS) April 8, 2017
Having known KTR since the days he entered politics during the Telangana agitation, one thing he has figured out is how to take the best selfies. And that includes handing out tips on how to ensure the perfect angles.