On April 27,2001,K Chandrasekhara Rao founded the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to lead the Telangana movement. While the party had a good start,its popularity soon seemed to wane. But with the region getting separate statehood,KCR has been catapulted to the position of the most powerful political leader in the proposed new state,assisted by many members of his family.
KCR depends on his son,K Taraka Rama Rao,38,an MLA from Sircilla in Karimnagar district,to take care of the partys day-to-day affairs. Despite being the second-in-command,Rama Rao,who earlier worked as a techie in US,maintains a low profile. He deals with the Telangana Joint Action Committee and directs the TRSs participation in the agitation. We welcome the announcement. But we are still skeptical and will remain so till parliament passes Telangana state, said Rama Rao on Tuesday.
KCRs nephew T Harish Rao,40,MLA from Siddipet,is the partys most visible face during agitations,courting arrests and clashing with the police. He is very vocal,and was seen as KCRs successor till 2009,when the TRS chief launched his son,followed by his daughter K Kavita. Harish Rao,who is very popular among TRS activists,took that in his stride.
Kavita,35,is the founder of Telangana Jagruti,which promotes cultural activities and integrates women into the Telangana agitation. She is a strong contender for the position that Vijayashanthi occupied. Kavita sidelined Vijayashanthi by actively participating in the Telangana protests,often braving police lathis and courting arrest. She is likely to enter the poll fray
While the familys fortunes are now on the upswing,it wasnt always this way. Soon after the launch of his party,KCR,who was earlier with the TDP,quickly occupied the sentimental space in Telangana,which he converted into political gains. Within three years,the party was ready for elections.
In 2004,the party tied up with the Congress and won 26 Assembly seats. It also won five Lok Sabha seats and initially joined the UPA government at the Centre,but later withdrew support,alleging that the Congress was dragging its feet on creation of Telangana.
For two years,KCR struggled to keep his flock intact,as the Telangana movement appeared to fade away. In April 2008,with elections just a year away,16 of the 26 TRS MLAs and four MPs resigned,triggering bypolls. The party suffered a huge setback,retaining just seven Assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats.
KCR lost his bargaining power,and was kept under tight control by former Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. In the May 2009 elections,KCR joined the TDPs grand alliance,but the party was routed in Telangana,winning just 10 Assembly seats. KCR himself just about managed to win the Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha seat. Actress-turned-politician Vijayashanthi was the partys only other MP.
The Telangana demand was put on the backburner,till KCR launched a fast-unto-death on November 23,2009. The fast ended on December 9,with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announcing that the process of creating Telangana had been started. That put KCR back in the spotlight again.