Hyderabad: More than three weeks after a thumping assembly election win, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is yet to announce a cabinet—because, party insiders say, he is waiting for what he sees as an inauspicious period to pass before naming ministers.
Like many other politicians across the country, KCR is a firm believer in astrology, and offers prayers before all important events. Two senior Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders said the period till Sankranti which falls on 14 January is considered inauspicious, which is why Rao has delayed announcing his cabinet.
The TRS won 88 of the 119 assembly seats in the recent Telangana assembly election. Rao took oath of office on 13 December 2018.
The delay in naming his ministers is in keeping with habits—Rao never entered the state secretariat during his first stint as chief minister. While party leaders maintain this is because buildings in the premises are not fire safety compliant, political analysts and opposition leaders attribute it to the secretariat’s bad Vaastu.
In 2016, Rao built a new camp office called Pragathi Bhavan in Begumpet, from where he functions now, apart from a farm house in his village E. Erravalli in Siddipet district. “Mostly, KCR (as Rao is known) will announce the new cabinet after Sankranti, and he will then concentrate on his efforts to build a non-Congress and non-Bharatiya Janata Party front before the Lok Sabha elections," said TRS lawmaker B. Vinod.
“This is the harvest season, when farmers would be busy with work and only after the sale of their produce they would get money, which would be followed by celebrations. This happens after Sankranti. So, for Telugu people, it is a very big festival and doing anything in this period is considered to be inauspicious," political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said, adding no weddings are conducted before Sankranti.
Other politicians have similar quirks too. Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy reportedly believes his private residence is the key to his political fortunes, and prefers to stay there instead of moving to the official residence. His brother and cabinet minister H.D. Revanna sports a chain made of cardamom to ward off bad omen, among other colourful accessories with likely religious objectives.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, after landing at Fursatganj airport in Amethi district of Uttar Pradesh, headed straight to Guru Bhavan, the house of the late Congressman Gaya Prasad Shukla to perform a puja, following a 45-year family tradition.
Despite Tamil Nadu’s Dravidian politics having been built upon the ethos of rationalism, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), especially under the former chief minister, the late Jayalalithaa, has regularly followed religious strictures—from announcing candidates lists to filing nominations and fixing the time for swearing-in ceremony.
The second ‘a’ at the end of her name was added after she lost the 1996 assembly election.
Dharani Thangavelu from Chennai contributed to this story.