Hyderabad: Caretaker irrigation minister and senior Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader T. Harish Rao may have broken all sorts of records in the 2018 assembly polls, given that he retained his Siddipet seat by securing a staggering 1,31,295 lakh votes (as of 4 pm according to the Election Commission of India website). His nearest rival from the Telangana Jana Samithi secured just 12,596 votes, not even 10% of Harish Rao’s total.
Nephew of (caretaker) chief minister and TRS supremo K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR), Harish Rao has been winning the Siddipet assembly seat consecutively since 2004, including three by-polls in 2004, 2008 and 2010. He received a thumping 1.08 lakh votes in the 2014 state elections, getting 71.96% of the total vote share.
In the just concluded Telangana assembly elections, the TRS managed to bag an impressive 86 seats out of the total 119, leaving the Congress-led alliance far behind.
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Harish Rao also won the 2010 by-elections to the Siddipet seat by over 1 lakh votes. One of the TRS’s biggest leaders, he is second only to KCR. And prior to the TRS supremo’s son K. T. Rama Rao (KTR) stepping into the limelight as IT minister after the 2014 state polls, it was Harish Rao who was always considered as KCR’s trusted lieutenant and protégé, completing every task his maternal uncle would ask him to do.
Known to be a workaholic, Harish Rao was tasked with completing some of the state’s biggest projects after the TRS won the 2014 elections. It was under him that the state government redesigned the Pranahita-Chevella (irrigation) project as the Kaleswaram lift irrigation scheme, being completed at a cost of Rs.80,000 crore.
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Though the project has come under fire over land acquisition, close aides of Harish Rao, inside and outside the TRS said nobody else in the government would have been able to take up and complete such a mammoth task. “He is a highly energetic and goal-oriented person. Whatever task he takes up, Harish completes it, as he knows how to get things done," said his brother T. Mahesh.
A native of Siddipet district, Harish Rao is also the one looking after KCR’s constituency of Gajwel (in Siddipet district) and is the one who not only interacts with the people there, but also is credited with overseeing the development works that the seat has witnessed since 2014.
While there have been recent reports of clashes between Harish Rao and KTR (many claim that the latter might be the next chief minister), the former is in fact known to be quite fond and close to KCR. The fact that his maternal uncle vacated the Siddipet seat (which KCR had been winning since 1985 continuously) for him years ago says something about that. “It is natural that he will clash with KTR, but as long as KCR is there, Harish will stick by his side," said a relative of Harish Rao, requesting anonymity.