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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Rise of KT Rama Rao: The man crucial to TRS’s national plans

Rama Rao, the son of Telangana CM KCR, has already established himself as a business-friendly minister. But bigger challenges lie ahead.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
Updated: June 29, 2022 8:55:11 am
Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) working president K T Rama Rao with Yashwant Sinha. (Photo: Twitter/@DrRanjithReddy)

Yashwant Sinha filed his nomination for next month’s presidential elections on Monday in New Delhi in the presence of senior Opposition leaders from 16 parties. Among those leaders was the Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) working president K T Rama Rao.

Popularly referred to by his initials KTR, the 45-year-old is the son of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (popularly known as KCR) and is the state’s minister of Information Technology (IT), industries, and municipal administration minister. By deputing his son and not some senior leader at an event representing the party’s significant opposition to the BJP, the CM indicated KTR’s importance to the party that has national ambitions.

Two months ago, at the party’s foundation day event, KCR, in a clear indication of those national ambitions, called for the emergence of a “new political force”. He said the country required an alternative agenda and not new political fronts or realignment. In a speech that lasted an hour-and-a-half, KCR pitchforked himself to the national stage with references to the role the TRS could play in the development of the nation, “water wars and power sector woes” across the country, and the alleged “attack on the federal structure”.

Announcing his party’s support for Sinha, Rama Rao on Monday said “TRS is opposed to the politics of BJP”. He added, “Leaders like Sharad Pawar and Mamta Banerjee called and spoke to us. To protect democracy in the country we will support Yashwant Sinha.’’

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At the event in Delhi, KTR rubbed shoulders with senior leaders such as Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav, and Rahul Gandhi as they accompanied Sinha to the submission of the nomination papers. This was the minister’s first participation in a major event in the national capital involving Opposition bigwigs.

Like his father, KTR has been equally scathing of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the CM takes potshots at the PM in public speeches and press conferences, KTR’s tool of choice is social media. In April, he took exception to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments on Hindi as an alternative to English. He said “language chauvinism and hegemony” would boomerang and would be a “great disservice to impose Hindi” on the nation’s youngsters who have global aspirations.

Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and other opposition leaders during the filing of his nomination papers for presidential election, at Parliament House in New Delhi. (PTI)

On Monday, the minister asked the BJP to release a white paper on the money the Centre had given Telangana. KTR said the BJP should release the white paper before its national executive meeting in Hyderabad on July 2 and 3. “Has the BJP government given us a medical college or an IIT or an IIM? What about all the other promises that were during the state bifurcation? BJP leaders should tell us what they have given to Telangana.”

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KCR launched the TRS in 2001, and KTR took the plunge into electoral politics eight years later by successfully contesting from the Sircilla Assembly constituency. He won four times from there, including a bypoll. He told two postgraduate degrees — an MSc in biotechnology and an MBA — and is credited with transforming Hyderabad into an IT hub rivalling Bengaluru. The IT sector in Hyderabad has expanded massively during his tenure (this is his second stint as the state’s Information Technology minister). The minister was also instrumental in launching the T-hub (Technology Hub) business incubator in the city in 2015. His IT policies have also encouraged companies to set up branches in second-tier cities, including Warangal.

During his tenure as the industries minister, Telangana has topped the ease of doing business index, especially since the introduction of the Telangana State-Industrial Project Approval and Self Certification System (TS-iPASS) that provides easy clearance to industrial projects. Last year, Kerala’s Kitex group announced an investment of almost Rs 1,000 crore in Warangal.

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First published on: 28-06-2022 at 03:23:07 pm

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