KCR – The Father of ‘Modern Hyderabad’
A willy politician with a deft hand, KCR is fancying his chances as the next prime minister of India.
In February 2015, barely months after ascending the throne, KCR’s cops were able to catch a TDP MLA red-handed trying to bribe an independent MLA to vote in favour of the party in the (then forthcoming) legislative council election. Even as the TDP MLA was jailed, a tape was produced (and leaked to TV channels) where a voice suspiciously similar to that of Chandrababu Naidu’s, was found saying something incriminating.
Though Naidu was not booked, he shifted to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh soon thereafter — along with the whole Andhra Pradesh Secretariat. This, after saying all the while that he would not leave Hyderabad before the mandatory 10 years for which the city would be the common capital.
This was an opportunity for KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) to poach TDP MLAs who Naidu had told to fend for themselves.
At the same time, to ensure that Andhra industrialists did not flee to Andhra Pradesh leaving Hyderabad high and dry, KCR appointed his son KT Rama Rao (KTR) to woo them. The savvy KTR, who is IT and Urban Development Minister in KCR’s government, was able to win the confidence of these industrialists who were at the receiving end during the Telangana statehood movement.
Naidu is hailed as the father of modern Hyderabad, who got Microsoft and other IT investments. But KTR is following in his footsteps and has been able to woo many others. “Hyderabad is a boom town now,” is the refrain of investors.
A Colourful Political Career
KCR has had a chequered political career. A faithful follower of Telugu Desam founder NT Rama Rao, he was later transport minister in Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP government in Andhra Pradesh from 1995-99.
Although he is believed to have strategised Naidu’s victory in 1999, Naidu jettisoned KCR, relegating him to the post of the Assembly’s deputy speaker. A miffed KCR left TDP and formed TRS to fight for a separate state.
The new state was created by Sonia Gandhi on the eve of the 2014 elections. Before Telangana was announced, KCR had declared his allegiance to Sonia — who he said was like his own ‘mother’ and even promised to merge his party into the Congress if ‘he was given a free hand.’ But none of this happened, and the TRS and Congress are now arch rivals.
People’s Faith in a ‘Wily’ Politician
Even as KCR wants to decimate the Congress, analysts aver that he has a tacit understanding with the BJP because this is what the saffron party also wants. However, in April 2017, KCR got a bill passed in the Telangana Assembly to provide reservations to backward Muslims in colleges and for jobs.
This is unlikely to be notified by the central government, because reservations on religious basis have been struck down by the courts. Moreover, with the latest proposals, total reservations will go way beyond the constitutionally mandated upper limit of 50 percent.
KCR, who runs the state with an iron hand and has promoted his daughter and nephew besides his son, is seen as a wily politician with a clear game plan in mind. This is why he is being taken seriously as he unfolds the federal front plan.
A Man With Dreams of Delhi
K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is a man known for setting his goals high. Figuring that the ‘Modi magic’ of 2014 has all but vanished and has not been replaced by a Rahul Gandhi upsurge, KCR is fancying his chances as the next prime minister of India, suggest highly-placed sources.
For the last fortnight, KCR has been talking about a federal front of non-BJP, non-Congress parties, asserting that both the mainline parties have failed the country.
Donning the robe of a messiah, KCR has been announcing that “People are vexed that there is no qualitative change, even after 70 years of democracy.” KCR, as has been reported, travelled to Kolkata to confabulate with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for forming a federal front. He has also met CPM’s Sitaram Yechury with the same idea.
The leaders of many likely federal front partners with more seats (like Mamata with 42 seats in West Bengal) might harbour prime ministerial ambitions themselves. But KCR, with his proficiency in both Hindi and English, and being from south India, feels that he has an edge over others
(The writer is former Resident Editor of the Ahmedabad edition of the Times of India. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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