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HometelanganaThe rise of KTR & Harish Rao in BRS

The rise of KTR & Harish Rao in BRS

Hyderabad: Apart from the high stakes battle that is on the cards in Telangana, the fast-approaching November 30 poll has revealed an interesting dynamic in the ruling BRS—the rise of KTR and Harish Rao.

The two cousins, who had been working under the shadows of BRS supremo and chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao all these years, appear to have come of age.

Though the overall monitoring and supervision of party activities is still overseen by KCR, execution now solely rests on KTR and Harish Rao.

Both KCR’s son K T Rama Rao and nephew T Harish Rao have long been active in the party, but they have now completely metamorphosed and literally taken charge of BRS. They are now the undisputed leaders of BRS, next only to KCR.

Their leadership skills were put to test when KCR, owing to ill health, was away from public view for almost 20 days a fortnight ago. With polls fast approaching and KCR absent, both KTR and Harish Rao stood in his stead, calling the shots in the BRS in consultation with the party’s patriarch.

They both have taken over the war room that was setup in Pragathi Bhavan to monitor election work. The duo have also taken the pole position and directly monitor the party’s largest ever micro-level outreach programme.

As part of this outreach programme, BRS aims to reach out to 3.1 crore voters in the next 40 days.

Three days ago KTR and Harish Rao launched training programmes in Hyderabad for 350 party in-charges from all 119 Assembly segments, to prep them for the mega outreach drive.

Political opponents had always warned KCR that a unhealthy competition between KTR and Harish would push BRS to the brink.

They had always claimed that KCR would want to anoint his son KTR as the next chief minister and that the Telangana CM had taken a step towards that goal had appointed him as the party’s working president days after he took oath as the chief minister for the second time in December 2018.

The elevation of KTR in 2018 as the party working president from being only a minister in the KCR cabinet had also led to the speculation that it had led to a rift in the family.

Harish Rao, relatively senior in the party in comparison to KTR, was the youngest six-time MLA in the state. Even Prime minister Narendra Modi himself, in one of his election rallies a few days ago in Telangana, had claimed KCR wanted to appoint his son KTR as chief minister of Telangana.

KCR’s opponents had expected that such an open accusation from Modi would definitely lead to a rift in BRS.

Far from it—both KTR and Harish Rao have been busy with party work in tandem. This has also led to a talk in the ruling BRS about a possible leadership transition from KCR to the KTR-Harish Rao duo.

“Both KTR and Harish Rao are like two eyes of KCR. He will be the chief minister for the third time. KCR is our supreme leader of the party. Both KTR and Harish Rao are the trusted frontline commanders of KCR to fight the poll battle,” senior BRS leader, Prof Dasoju Sravan told Deccan Herald.

KCR is more or less confined to addressing public meetings and overall supervision while KTR and Harish Rao are shouldering all the other party responsibilities.

(Published 26 October 2023, 09:39 IST)

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