It’s time for 'Son Shine' in both the Telugu speaking states. While Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was going all out to train his son Nara Lokesh to be his successor after the 2019 elections so that he would move over to national politics, his Telangana State counterpart K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is likely to appoint his all-powerful son KT Rama Rao (KTR) as the working president of TRS during the party’s plenary on April 21.
Political circles feel that both the Telugu Chief Ministers are systematically following the strategy to ensure that there was no power struggle after the 2019 elections. Meanwhile, as against KTR’s lateral entry into the ‘T’ agitation, KCRs nephew Harish Rao, KCR’s Man Friday during the agitation, has risen from the grass-root level and continues to be a popular leader who maintains a name-familiar contact with the people of his constituency.
KCR never hesitated to field Harish Rao as the government's chief spokesperson and crisis manager when the need arose. Whether it was the issue of sharing of electricity between Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh, sharing of river water, special incentives from the Centre or special status for the Pranahita-Chevella project, Harish Rao was almost always the first off the block to spread the chief minister's point of view.
However, things started changing from the time the GHMC elections were held where in KTR was made the main campaigner signaling the stepping stone for a bigger role. The young leader took it as a challenge and demonstrated his calibre and the results are there for everyone to see. Today, his position in the party and the Cabinet is second only to KCR Of late, KTR has been going round various districts and addressing public meetings which gave a fillip to the speculations that the Chief Minister was testing the waters and see how acceptable KTR would be among the people.
This also led to rumours that the Irrigation minister Harish Rao was peeved that he was being marginalized, although, as a die-hard soldier he was quick to quash the rumours. Recently Harish Rao tried to clear the air by clarifying that he was in no competition with KTR and would take up any responsibility entrusted to him by the Chief Minister.
The question now is if KTR is made the working president will he be able to do justice to his other responsibilities, including administrative and ministerial. The suave leader is already overloaded with responsibilities like making Hyderabad a global city. In his bid to counter the opposition criticism that nothing was being done, KTR said that it took almost three years to undo the wrongs done by the previous governments and now they were determined to fast-track the development agenda.
This is in addition to restore Hyderabad’s ‘most happening’ IT corridor image and putting the State on the global industrial map. Already hard-pressed with so many responsibilities on his shoulders, if he now has to take up the burden of party work and see that it returns to power in 2019, would he be able to do justice is the big question that is being debated in party circles.
The general conclusion is that being a master strategist, KCR would have certainly thought of all these issues before deciding to make him the working president. And none can dare question KCR’s wisdom. Politically, with the passing of the baton, we could quite well see the emergence of a Gen Next battle of wits and Round Two of one-upmanship between Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh, a la Rao and Naidu.