National

KCR inducts 2 women, Harish Rao into Cabinet to silence critics

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on September 10, 2019 Published on September 10, 2019

The newly sworn-in Minister in the Telangana Cabinet T Harish Rao taking oath in the presence Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, in Hyderabad, on Sunday   -  Nagara Gopal@thehindu

By inducting T Harish Rao and two women — Sabita Indra Reddy and Satyavathi Rathod — into his Cabinet, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar has temporarily won a political battle and silenced critics, both in the Opposition and within his own party.

Nine months after securing a landslide victory for a second term, KCR has been under pressure due to growing opposition from the BJP, a simmering dissent within the TRS, and a challenging financial scenario.

Not only did the BJP declare that it would take on KCR and the TRS to come to power in 2023, it also launched a membership drive and sent out overtures to TRS leaders, especially T Harish Rao, former Irrigation Minister and KCR’s nephew, who was dropped from the Cabinet.

Simultaneously, KCR made his son KT Rama Rao the Working President, sending out enough signals about the succession plan.

A disappointed Harish Rao gradually distanced himself from the government and party activities. Since Rao is acknowledged as a grassroots leader who built up the TRS in some of the important districts, the BJP has been trying to take advantage of the internal differences in the party.

Buoyed by its performance in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP stepped up efforts to mount a challenge to KCR. It made Kishen Reddy, technically the only representative from the State at the Centre, a junior minister of Home.

The BJP wave swept away the idea of a Federal Front and with that KCR’s ambition to play a national role.

The Modi government also made a crucial move by appointing Tamilisai Soundarrajan, BJP’s Tamil Nadu president, as the Governor of Telangana. She replaced ESL Narasimhan with whom KCR enjoyed excellent rapport.

Cabinet expansion

The Cabinet expansion and the swearing in of the first woman Governor of Telangana took place on Sunday. KCR, for the first time, inducted women into the Cabinet.

With the inclusion of Sabitha Indra Reddy (Education), who served as Home Minister in the YS Rajasekhara Reddy-led Congress government, and Satyavathi Rathod, an MLC from the tribal community (Women & Child & Tribal Welfare), KCR has effectively silenced the Opposition, which had questioned the party on gender representation. Of course, the quick elevation of Sabitha, who defected to the TRS, may draw some criticism.

KCR also placated Harish Rao by assigning him the Finance Ministry, though the present slowdown and financial challenges will put the onus of performance on him. He has restored the high profile IT and Municipal Administration & Urban Development to KTR, which has made him the public face of the government.

After winning the Assembly elections in December, 2018, KCR was sworn in with just one minister — Mohammed Ali. It was only after a few months that he added another 10. With the present expansion, he has an 18-member team.

Published on September 10, 2019

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