Highlighting the injustices meted out to Telangana by the rulers in the then undivided Andhra Pradesh, he single-handedly revived the movement and made ‘Jai Telangana’ a household slogan…writes Mohammed Shafeeq
From a party formed to fight injustice against a region to achieving its goal of Telangana statehood to now setting its sights on the national political horizon, the TRS under K. Chandrasekhar Rao is set to embark on a new journey.
After toying with the idea of forging a national front of like-minded parties for long, a series of visits to various states, and multiple rounds of talks with other regional satraps, KCR, as Rao is popularly called, has finally taken a plunge into national politics.
After its existence as the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for over 21 years, the regional party turned national on Wednesday with the party’s general body meeting chaired by KCR unanimously resolving to change its name to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
With his eyes set on 2024 Lok Sabha polls, KCR aims to re-write the history of Indian politics just as he changed the face of Andhra Pradesh politics by floating the TRS in 2001 to revive the movement for statehood to Telangana.
Highlighting the injustices meted out to Telangana by the rulers in the then undivided Andhra Pradesh, he single-handedly revived the movement and made ‘Jai Telangana’ a household slogan.
Stressing on the need for self-rule to change the destiny of Telangana, KCR carved a niche for himself in the history by achieving the goal of separate Telangana state when many had given up the idea after the failure of the movement in 1969.
A lean person with steely resolve and indomitable spirit, KCR remains an enigma for his supporters and critics alike.
From a rabble-rouser leading the movement for separate state to realising his vision of Bangaru’ (golden) Telangana, the 68-year-old has donned the different roles effortlessly over the last two decades.
After near two terms of power in the country’s youngest state and leading the state on the path of progress with innovative schemes and welfare measures, KCR is now looking to replicate the ‘Telangana model’ across the country with the BRS.
Political analysts say KCR will be looking to bring together opposition parties on a common platform to achieve his goal of defeating the BJP in 2024 polls.
KCR had long been talking of a front of like-minded parties as an alternative to the BJP and the Congress for he believes that both the national parties have failed to govern the country and address the basic problems of the people even after 75 years of Independence.
He has been trying to project Telangana as a role model for the entire country with his ambitious programmes and revolutionary welfare and development programmes.
Many see in him a regional satrap who has all the qualities required to bring together parties with different ideologies and lead the front.
“KCR is undoubtedly one of the smartest politicians in the country today. His governance coupled with his political acumen and poll strategies make him a formidable force,” says political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
“He converted a dry and arid region like Telangana into a green zone. His pet projects like Mission Kakatiya, Mission Bhagiratha, along with the most ambitious Kaleshwaram project, breathed life into otherwise failing agriculture in the region,” he said.
As the series of electoral victories of TRS over the last eight years show, he is a leader well connected with the masses.
A graduate in Arts, KCR is known for his oratory skills and delivers speeches laced with sarcasm in his inimitable style to target his rivals.
Hailing from Chintamadaka village in then Medak district, he jumped into politics in 1982. While serving as Vice President of Youth Congress, he was elected to Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society.
In 1983, he joined the TDP floated by popular actor N.T. Rama Rao and contested from Siddipet constituency but lost by a narrow margin. He was elected from the same constituency in 1985 and since then, never lost an election.
KCR, who served as a minister in Chandrababu Naidu’s cabinet (1995-99), was sulking when he was made Deputy Speaker of the Assembly after the TDP returned to power in 1999. He quit the party and floated the TRS in 2001.
The 2004 elections came as a big moment for KCR as TRS won 26 Assembly and five Lok Sabha seats. KCR, who became a minister in Congress-led UPA-1 at the Centre, succeeded in placing Telangana on the national agenda.
In 2009, he aligned with the TDP but the TRS’ tally came down drastically. With Congress retaining power and all odds against him, it looked like it was all over for the TRS.
The death of then Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash the same year gave an opportunity to KCR to bounce back. His indefinite hunger strike forced UPA-II to announce that the process for formation of Telangana state will be initiated.
When the Centre adopted delaying tactics, KCR joined hands with other pro-Telangana forces to launch a massive movement. Even his worst critics admit that the credit of making ‘Jai Telangana’ a household slogan goes to him.
When Congress finally gave into the demand and created Telangana state in the hope to get the TRS into its fold, KCR, the wily politician he is, decided to chart his own course.
Riding on Telangana sentiment, KCR formed the first government in the new state. With a slew of schemes for various sections of people, he strengthened his position.
He took his opponents by surprise by going for early elections in 2018 and won a massive mandate for a second term.
It was in March 2018 that KCR had proposed the Federal Front to bring what he called a qualitative change in national politics. He had held series of meetings with leaders of various non-NDA parties.
After the TRS retained power in Telangana with a landslide victory in December 2018, KCR started working aggressively on his plans.
He flew from one state to the other to meet leaders of various regional parties.
After the massive victory in Assembly elections, KCR had appointed his son K.T. Rama Rao as the Working President of the TRS so that he can focus on national politics.
KCR was even being seen as the potential prime ministerial candidate by his party in the event of regional parties emerging as a major bloc in the Lok Sabha. However, BJP returning to power at the Centre with a big majority shattered his dream.
After lying low for two years, KCR resumed working on the idea of alternative. The alleged neglect of Telangana by BJP-led government spurred him to work aggressively on his plans.
Over the last one year, KCR sharpened his attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and found fault with his policies on all fronts.
The Centre failing to fulfill commitments made to Telangana at the formation of the state, its bias towards the state in sanctioning new projects and release of funds and the curbs imposed on the state over raising of debts further angered KCR, who finally reached to a conclusion that the best way to safeguard the state’s interests is to go national and directly take on Modi.