KTR will play bigger role if TRS wins, says will quit politics if party loses
Lok Sabha elections early next year. Already, KCR has sounded several senior leaders, including some senior ministers, to be ready to contest the LS elections so that a younger crop of leaders would be left in the state to work with his son, who is in his 40s.
KTR, as he is popularly known within and outside the ruling party, has gone on record saying that he will not only quit politics, but also leave public life if TRS loses the elections. He was the only leader to dare the Opposition camp to accept his challenge. Though some Congress leaders claimed a win for their party, none came forward to quit politics if they lost.
KCR has entrusted his son with the task of leading the party within the limits of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) which account for 24 seats. These seats include the seven held by TRS’ ally, All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). For all practical purposes, KTR took upon himself the task of leading the fight in the remaining 17 constituencies.
This apart, KTR also looked after his own Siricilla Assembly seat from the combined Karimnagar district and vigorously campaigned for scores of other TRS candidates across the state. KTR addressed as many as 70 rallies, meetings and road-shows, next only to his father KCR, who addressed over 85 meetings ahead of the elections.
This is the second time that KTR has been entrusted with leading the party. Earlier it was in the GHMC elections in 2016. KTR led the party to increase its tally from zero to 99 out of the total 150 divisions in the GHMC, which was never a stronghold of TRS. Previously, in 2002, when the TRS contested the civic polls here, it won just two out of the total 100 seats. KTR has also been given the responsibility of placating the TRS rebels and ticket seekers once the finalisation of candidates was done. He led a team of party leaders who called and counselled several ticket seekers and ensured that they remained within the party. KTR is singularly credited with persuading Deputy CM Kadiam Srihari to work for TRS candidate T. Rajaiah from Station Ghanpur (SC).
Srihari, an MLC, wanted to contest from Station Ghanpur, but could not as KCR wanted to re-nominate Rajaiah, a sitting MLA. Finally, Srihari agreed to abide by KCR’s decision, thanks to the efforts put in by KTR, sources in the party said. There are a dozen such in- stances where KTR personally went to the disgruntled candidates and persuaded them to stay in the party.
There were also some setbacks to KTR’s diplomacy ahead of the elections. He could not contain Chevella MP, Konda Visweshwar Reddy from leaving TRS and joining Congress. KTR held negotiations with Reddy till the last minute, but couldn’t stop the defection. Similarly, KTR also could not prevent another senior leader G. Vinod from contesting on a BSP ticket from Bellampalli (SC).
On Saturday evening, KTR held a “thanksgiving” media conference at the party office and confidently predicted a TRS government under KCR leadership taking oath next week. KTR was flanked by his trusted minister friends—T. Srinivas Yadav, P. Mahender Reddy and C. Lakshma Reddy. “We will surpass the projections of the exit polls and win over 100 seats on 11 December,” KTR said.
K.T. Rama Rao