Hyderabad: Telangana Rashtra Samithi working president K. T. Rama Rao (KTR) may once again take charge of the IT portfolio in the state cabinet, with the buzz in party circles being that his father and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is likely to expand his cabinet in the first week of September.
Word within the TRS is that KCR's nephew T. Harish Rao, who was the irrigation minister in the previous government, might also be accommodated during the proposed expansion.
While KTR’s inclusion into the cabinet will not come as a surprise, Harish Rao can heave a sigh of relief if he is inducted as his fate has been undecided for quite sometime. He has reportedly been unhappy after he was ignored during the announcements of cabinet berths in February. The portfolios were allotted to cabinet ministers nearly two months after the KCR-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) came to power last year after winning the 2018 state December polls.
Since the assembly elections last year, it was rumoured that Harish Rao, who has been with the TRS since its inception in 2011, was unhappy over being sidelines, given that KTR was made the TRS’s working president, a post that earlier did not exist. The two have however maintained cordial relations on the outside. In February, KCR allotted 10 cabinet berths, leaving six more open.
“The word in party circles is that KCR would expand his cabinet on 4, 9 or 14 September, before the upcoming budget session is held (date not yet announced). It looks like 4th (September) is out of the question, so it may be one of the other two dates. We have also heard that Harish Rao might be inducted into the cabinet, which will personally make me happy, as he has been tirelessly working for the party since day one," said a senior TRS leader, who did not want to be quoted.
For his stint as the irrigation minister between 2014 to 2018, Harish Rao was widely credited with finishing most of the work undertaken for the ₹80,190 crore Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project. Rao not being invited during the launch of the project earlier this year raised some eyebrows. Within the party and in the IT industry, KTR has also received praise for his work during his stint as IT minister during the same period.
“Why he (Harish Rao) was kept aside is something only that KCR knows. It will be good if KTR also gets a berth, but it will be very difficult for him to manager and party and the portfolio together," remarked the TRS leader. Earlier there were many rumours about Harish Rao, with one being that he would quit the party after not being taken into the cabinet.
“KCR is not leaving any room for Harish Rao to make noise inside the party. Harish might be taken into the cabinet, but he won’t be given the irrigation portfolio, so that only KCR can get the limelight with the Kaleshwaram project. As long as KCR is around, Harish Rao will not have a great future in the TRS and he might have to leave," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
He added that after participating in the Telangana statehood agitation in the past, Harish Rao might also not want to leave just yet. “He will take a decision when the time comes," Reddy remarked.