Thirteen years after he launched the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) on April 27, 2001, with the sole aim of spearheading the separate state movement, K Chandrasekhara Rao, 60, took oath as the first Chief Minister of Telangana at 8:15 am on Monday.
Emotions ran high as the audience, including many who witnessed the agitation which began in 1969, recalled the lives that had been sacrificed for the formation of the 29th state, including the many students who had immolated themselves.
“I never thought I would ever experience this moment,’’ said an emotional Prof M Kodandaram, convenor of the Telangana Joint Action Committee. Hyderabad MP and MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, BJP’s Telangana unit president G Kishan Reddy, BJP’s Secunderabad MP Bandaru Dattareya and families of Telangana martyrs were among those present at the ceremony.
Before taking oath, KCR, dressed in his trademark white shirt and trousers, first went to the Telangana Martyrs Memorial where he laid floral wreaths and paid tribute. He then went to Raj Bhawan, where Governor E S L Narasimhan, who himself took oath as Governor of Telangana an hour before, administered the oath of office to KCR and his 11-member council of ministers.
“This is a new beginning. We have realised our dream of achieving Telangana state. Now we need to start another movement to reconstruct and develop our new state,’’ said the new Chief Minister at the Telangana Formation Day celebrations later.
“I congratulate the people of Telangana for this is their victory. I feel humbled by the sacrifices Telangana martyrs made and efforts people made to realise our dream of a separate Telangana state,’’ he said.
KCR reiterated that his government would fulfil all its poll promises and announced a slew of benefits for backward classes and minorities, police personnel, government employees, farmers, pensioners and physically-challenged.
“The TRS government will work hard and try to live up to the people’s expectations. The people of Telangana are pinning their hopes on us and we will work for their welfare as well as rapid development of the state. I assure you that the TRS will fulfil all the promises made in the election manifesto. Ours will be the most employee-friendly government,’’ he said.
After a guard of honour, KCR, who was accompanied by Telangana Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma and Telangana Director General of Police Anurag Sharma, went to the Secretariat and entered his office at 12:57 pm. Amid vedic chants by priests he signed his first file approving the Telangana government’s official logo.
He later held an informal 20-minute meeting with his 11 ministers, where a decision was taken to hold the first Assembly session on June 9. The Telangana government also issued its first Government Order, opening an account with the Reserve Bank of India in the name of Telangana State with Rs 1.38 crore.
“People have given a clear majority to the TRS and we will work hard to fulfil all the promises we made. There are challenges ahead but we will work hard,’’ said KCR’s son K T Rama Rao, who was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister.
Among the others who got ministerial berths are KCR’s nephew T Harish Rao, close aide Nayani Narasimha Reddy, Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Thatikonda Rajaiah, Eetala Rajander, Pocharam Srinivas Reddy, T Padma Rao Goud, P Mahender Reddy, Jogu Ramana and G Jagdishwar Reddy.
While there are no women in the council of ministers, KCR has included three members of Velamma community, including himself, four from the Reddy community, three from Backward Classes, one each from Scheduled Castes and Muslim community. The lone Muslim, Mohammed Mahmood Ali, and Dr Thatikonda Rajaiah, a Dalit, have been made Deputy Chief Ministers.