Hyderabad: A family conflict seems to be brewing in the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) between senior leaders T. Harish Rao and K.T. Rama Rao (KTR), uncle and nephew, after the latter was made the working president by party chief and his father K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) just days after the party swept state elections in December.

While KTR’s elevation by KCR (who is also Telangana chief minister) is being considered as a stepping-stone towards the former becoming the next chief minister, senior leaders from the TRS said that Harish Rao, who is KCR’s maternal nephew and has been his trusted lieutenant for years, is unhappy about the development.

While Harish Rao and KTR have both denied that there was any issue between them, a senior TRS leader, who did not want to be named, said the former was clearly unhappy. “That post (of working president) never existed in the TRS. As of now KCR is going to be the chief minister, but we have been given the impression that his son is going to take over in the future."

The TRS leader added that Harish Rao has worked very hard, executing everything that his maternal uncle would ask him to do. “So, naturally, as a senior leader he will be unhappy."

In the 2018 polls, TRS won 88 of the 119 assembly seats, defeating the Congress-led grand alliance.

Harish Rao, in fact, created a record of sorts by winning his Siddipet seat for the sixth term and with over 130,000 votes for the third time. His nearest rival from the opposition could not secure 10% of his vote tally. A relative of his, who did not want to named, also said that Harish Rao was unhappy with the elevation of KTR, but he is very close to KCR. “He won’t harm the TRS till KCR is there," he added.

In the previous government, Harish Rao had got the irrigation and agriculture marketing portfolios, while KTR was the information technology (IT) and industries minister. Both had received praise for their work in TRS’s first term. It was under Harish Rao that the Telangana government took up major projects, including the 80,000 crore Kaleswaram lift irrigation scheme.

“Harish Rao and KTR will mostly retain their portfolios, but KCR will take his time to announce the full cabinet. While he might fill up about 10 of the 17 berths, the remaining are likely to be announced after the conclusion of the Lok Sabha elections," said the TRS leader. After winning the assembly elections, only former deputy chief minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali was allotted the home ministry in the Telangana government.

“KTR is now meeting people and trying to understand the cadre, which is the why the new cabinet’s announcement is being delayed. Whether people like it nor not, he is the boss now and party office bearers will have to abide by that. The delay in announcing the cabinet is also to neutralize not just Harish Rao but all anti-KTR forces in the TRS. KCR himself is likely to appoint new faces who will work under KTR as well," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

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