Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao rules out change in leadership, asks party cadre not to indulge in speculation

Published : February 08, 2021 13:36 IST

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao speaking at the Telangana Rashtra Samiti’s executive committee meeting in Hyderabad on February 7. Photo: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Scotching speculation on a possible leadership change, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, categorically announced on February 7 that he was in the pink of health and would continue as the Chief Minister for the next 10 years.

For months now, the political grapevine was not whether but when Chandrashekar Rao would step down as Chief Minister and hand over the reins to his son K.T. Rama Rao, a Cabinet Minister and acting President of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). The grapevine was that Chandrashekar Rao, who has for long nursed ambitions of a role in national politics, especially leading from the front a non-BJP, non-Congress political alliance, would step aside and focus on preparing for the step-up. The decision to elevate Rama Rao, sources in the TRS pointed out, even had the support of senior party leaders, of whom at least four had publicly hailed him as a worthy successor. Rama Rao, who was made acting chief of the TRS in 2018 and had been present on many an occasion when TRS leaders spoke of his elevation, added to the confusion and uncertainty by neither denying nor responding to the comments.

However, all such talk was put to rest by the Chief Minister on February 7 while addressing the TRS State executive committee meeting at Telangana Bhavan, the party’s headquarters in the Telangana capital of Hyderabad. In the meeting that lasted over two-and-half hours Chandrashekar Rao had strong words for his party cadre directing them not to make unwarranted comments on the leadership issue or indulge in any sort of speculation on it.

Sources said that the TRS State Executive Committee meeting discussed various issues pertaining to party membership, constitution of party committees from village level to the State level, election of party president, the party’s annual meeting scheduled for April 27 and related issues. The meeting also comes against the backdrop of the TRS launching its latest membership drive on February 12. The drive aims at surpassing the previous record of over 60 lakh. The TRS president, asked party leaders to ensure an enrolment of at least 50,000 members from each of Telangana’s 119 Assembly constituencies. The party is also in the process of constituting party committees at all levels, followed by the election of the party president. The party will organise its annual plenary on April 27.

The executive committee meeting is also said to have discussed the upcoming elections to two MLC Graduates constituencies, the Nagarjunagar by-poll, and also municipal elections to around six Urban Local Bodies.

The TRS, which barely retained control of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation last December, winning 55 of 150 wards in an exceptionally shrill and divisive contest that saw a massive surge by the BJP (which won 45 seats), is yet to announce the names of its candidates for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. Chandrashekhar Rao is said to have clarified at the executive committee that the party leadership would announce the names for the posts in a sealed cover on the day of the election. He directed the party corporators and ex-officio members to support the candidates chosen by the leadership.

The Telangana Assembly election is in 2023.