Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao is by far the tallest political leader in Telangana. When it comes to those who are nursing an ambition to succeed him as the Chief Minister of Telangana, they are nowhere close to KCR. And, it is not without any reason.
The Telugu Desam Party, which has almost lost its relevance and also presence in Telangana, has given up on nursing any such ambition to have its candidate as the Chief Minister, nor is it in a position even to name one leader from its side to compete with KCR.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is contesting the elections independently, is showcasing a religious guru, Swami Paripoornananda, but has not announced him as its Chief Ministerial nominee for the upcoming elections. It has floated Swami Paripoornananda’s name only as a ploy to draw the popular attention but kept it at the level of a “speculative name” and not beyond that.
The Communists have never named anybody, for they are fully aware of naming anyone as their CM candidate to rival KCR would only let them make a spectacle of themselves.
Now, let us examine the situation prevalent in the Congress. This Grand Old Party lets anyone and everyone to nurse an ambition to occupy the highest office in the country, leave alone whether it will sponsor or endorse the same for the coveted position or not.
Interestingly, Congress, which has at least a dozen Chief Ministerial aspirants, doesn’t have at least one to match the stature of KCR. In fact, leaders like S Jaipal Reddy and K Jana Reddy, who are senior to KCR, have never worked their way up to lead the State. Jaipal Reddy might have served as a Union Minister heading many ministries. As if to fill that void in the career, KCR lapped up the opportunity he got in the UPA-I regime and served as a Union Minister for Labour and Employment.
And, Jana Reddy, who always nursed the ambition for the top job, however, never served as the Pradesh Congress Committee president. Though he held important portfolios in the Congress governments like Panchayat Raj, Home, and Agriculture, he never wasn’t there in the reckoning for the coveted top slot. The rest of the Congress aspirants are all way too juniors to KCR in political career nor do they match his stature. KCR positioned himself at a very high pedestal by leading an agitation to its logical end and getting elected as the Chief Minister very righteously. This made him too invincible a leader in Telangana. While other parties are not even considered as a competition, the Congress continues to be the main opposition for the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the State. Minister for IT KT Rama Rao acknowledged this fact umpteen times, including the one at a recent press conference at the Telangana Bhavan where he said that the other parties were either non-existent in the State or irrelevant.
KTR was at his derisive best when he highlighted the power-hungry politics of the Congressmen. There were many “Chief Ministers” (meaning, there are many aspirants for the Chief Minister’s position) in the Congress. Each one of them would be gunning for the head of the other.
At an election meeting with TRS workers in KTR remarked, “In case, if we are ill-fated to have a Congress-led government, there would be a fierce competition among several Congress leaders. Their party high command would send a ‘lifafa’ with the name of the Chief Minister. Do we need such leaders from lifafa or a lion-like KCR?”. And there were lusty cheers endorsing KCR’s leadership.
KTR warned the people against electing grand alliance, for its leaders would either be subservient to Delhi or Amaravati, capital of Andhra Pradesh where N Chandrababu Naidu, the architect of the alliance, sits.
Thus, by any standard KCR’s image is larger than life compared to any of his competitors in the run-up for elections.