When Telangana Chief Minister KC Rao dissolved the state assembly in September this year, the move was not just indicative of reaping political benefits by de-linking the state elections from next year’s Lok Sabha polls. The creator of free Telangana seemed more than certain of getting a second term.
Undoubtedly, the BJP is desperately trying to win the states which are currently not under its rule, a strategy that will help its cause for the next year’s general elections. Not only will it seek to retain Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan during this year’s Assembly polls, but also try to bag Congress-led Mizoram and overturn Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti regime.
But dethroning Rao, who has had his hands gripped on the pulse of his people, can be quite challenging for the saffron party as well as for the Congress, especially when Rao’s report card in the last four years has been impressive.
Chandrashekar Rao earned a Masters degree in English Literature from Osmania University in Hyderabad and started his political journey with the Congress party. He later joined Telugu Desam Party in the year 1983.
Rao went on to become the Union minister for Labour and Employment in the UPA cabinet led by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. He held various portfolios in Andhra Pradesh cabinet and served as the deputy speaker of the state assembly in the year 2000-2001.
After nearly a couple of decades in politics, Rao decided to take a firm stand for the cause of the people of Telangana. He instituted the Telangana Rashtra Samiti in the year 2001 and managed to realise his dream of achieving statehood for Telangana after fourteen years in 2014.
In its first four years, as the chief minister of India’s youngest state, KC Rao scripted laudable success stories, steering the state on the path of development and innovation. Telangana is one of the top IT-exporting states and has a number of hydroelectric and solar power plants developing to generate additional power capacity in the state. The chief minister, while taking over the Telangana cabinet four years back, had hoped to turn the state from a power-deficit to a power surplus state.
In his longest-ever Independence Day speech, CM Rao this year reflected on TRS’ performance and his initiatives as the leader of the newly-formed state. He emphasised the wide spectrum of social welfare schemes undertaken by his cabinet that touched the lives of an estimated three crore people.
“Telangana is the only state in the country to implement over 40 types of welfare schemes at the expense of over Rs 40,000 crore per year,” Rao mentioned during his Independence Day address.
Some of the key initiatives of the Rao government would include enhancing the income limit to identify lower income groups and include more and more people in the state-led welfare scheme. Salaries were revised; pension schemes were revisited and given an overhaul to provide more benefits to senior citizens, widows, physically challenged, among others.
In one of his recent rallies, CM Rao promised a further increase in the pension of Rs 1,000 given to various sections to Rs 2,016.
KCR’s vision to make Telangana a role model for other states and turn it into one of the greatest economic engines of the country has been unwavering. His command on the state and native wisdom makes him a leader hard to defeat. His leadership skills have exhibited a fine balance between giving impetus to innovation and development at the same time alleviating those at the lower rungs of his land.
To overthrow Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao’s leadership in the upcoming assembly polls, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party will have to address and materialise the many aspirations and desires of the people of Telangana.
BJP-led Central government has long been accused of not fulfilling Telangana's demands. State municipal administration minister KT Rao recently alleged that the state has been treated with scant respect. BJP has a mammoth task of appeasing the people of Telangana, winning their trust and assuring that it can, and it will work for its welfare.
Congress, almost convinced of its defeat as an independent electoral contender, has joined the Andhra CM in his 'grand alliance' -- a political arrangement that may look formidable but could crumble with tiniest of internal dissent.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)
Dethroning Rao, who has had his hands gripped on the pulse of his people, can be quite challenging for the saffron party as well as for the Congress, especially when Rao’s report card in the last four years has been impressive.