|Rama Krishna Sangem
Three As – Assertion, Ambition and Aggression – sum up his mood today. Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao, KCR, as he is fondly called by his millions of followers, is celebrating his birthday on February 17, Thursday. Born in 1954, KCR is relatively young by the standards of Indian politics. He assumed CM post eight years ago, at the age of 60 or 61.
KCR is an effective communicator and articulate orator. The three As, that he imbibed since recently are best displayed at his birthday celebrations at the Telangana Bhavan, TRS headquarters in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad at 11 am on Thursday. A huge cake was lowered from the top accompanied with pyrotechnics. Party leaders lustily cheered as it descended. There was a rush to get a piece of the cake.
Working for federalism
KCR wants to ascend in the national politics by donning the role of NTR, or a VP Singh or even a Jayaprakash Narayan. JP had ushered in a social change at the Centre. KCR wants to bring together all major regional parties to consolidate federalism and defeat the BJP government led by Narendra Modi in the 2024 general elections.
However, critics say he is ambitious. Yes, he is ambitious, but his ambition is backed by a success story of achieving Telangana in 2014, after relentless struggle through his TRS launched in 2001. KCR always talks of how he was a loner in 2001 when he started the TRS party. There were many in the past agitated for Telangana state, but they gave up in the middle. They were afraid of sacrifices.
Took calculated risks
However, KCR on April 27, 2001, not only quit his MLA seat from Siddipet, but also gave up his Telugu Desam Party membership and Deputy Speaker of AP Assembly too. Several leaders in the TDP at the time (including some of them now ministers in his Cabinet) thought KCR was a fool to sacrifice the posts. They thought that Telangana was an impossible dream, not worth quitting the Deputy Speaker post.
KCR proved them all wrong. His political strategies and tactics since then worked wonders. He became a Union Minister and forced by-elections several times and weakened both Congress and TDP systematically in Telangana. People of Telangana fully trusted him as a sole champion of their aspirations.
Even after becoming the first CM of Telangana, KCR hasn’t changed his character – being independent of both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress. He thinks these two parties are not fit to serve the interests of Telangana. His friendship with AIMIM’s Owaisi has conveyed his secular credentials. At the same time, he hasn’t concealed his religious bent of mind.
KCR always asserted his independent personality. This assertion is not based on any hype or hoopla. It is based on both self-confidence and self-respect. He first set right the power problem in the state, followed by taking up the irrigation sector’s improvement. Completion of Kaleshwaram Lift project, costing around Rs 1 lakh crore is a boost to the economy of Telangana in the long run.
Thanks to his industrial and investment policies, Hyderabad today is a major destination for business houses, both global and domestic, in India. Don’t be surprised, if Hyderabad exceeds the growth record of Bengaluru and Mumbai or even Delhi in the next few years. This is a reason why the Centre has come forward to fund the 338-km Regional Ring Road, around Hyderabad.
KCR is often accused by his political opponents of not coming to the Secretariat. But, no one questions his efficiency in administration. He studies well the subjects before an official meeting begins. He is never awed by any crisis.
The manner in which he handled the Covid crisis since 2020 and the way he sanctioned 10 new medical colleges and completed the vaccination drive in time, testify his track record. KCR makes a few changes in the top bureaucracy – CS, DGP, top secretaries and a few officials intermittently.
KCR is aggressive in both politics and administration. This we can see how he motivated some retired and lazy officials to complete the Yadadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple expansion project, though slightly delayed. Soon, this will become a major pilgrimage centre in the country. So is the case with the construction of a new Secretariat complex, which will be ready by next year.
KCR is ambitious about his role in national politics. He tried his hand to float a federal front in 2018-19, but failed due to lack of unity or lack of clarity among the leaders. Still there are some challenges, but he is willing to take the risks and explore the possibility of bringing all non-BJP parties on to a single platform. At present, there is some confusion about the role of Congress.
National politics are like landmines and Machiavellian operations. if Bengal CM Mamata wants Congress out of any grouping of hers, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin cannot ignore the Grand Old Party. We don’t know what Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackery will tell KCR when they meet in Mumbai on February 20. This is a tiresome game, but KCR has now mastered the art of negotiations
We all know, KCR is a one-man army, but with a huge following. He knows how to directly connect with people of Telangana, instead of through middle rung leaders. KCR showcases his solid work and outlines his future plans, to secure public support. Rao doesn’t have a strong Opposition in Telangana now. On his birthday, KCR enjoys the luxury of chasing his dreams!