In the previous regime in Telangana, Kadiam Srihari as one of the two deputy chief ministers was technically the second most important person in the government. That, as everyone knew, was only on paper because there were other members of the cabinet like Industries minister KT Rama Rao and Irrigation minister Harish Rao, who enjoyed far more clout than Srihari.
The change in Srihari’s professional life is that in the second innings of K Chandrasekhar Rao as chief minister of Telangana, Srihari does not enjoy even that charade of a clout. He was denied a ticket to contest the assembly elections and his daughter Kavya too was not fielded by the TRS leadership.
Though Srihari is an MLC, he was not inducted into the cabinet after the December 2018 elections. What’s worse, he has had to play second fiddle within the undivided Warangal district to his bete noire E Dayakar Rao, who is now a minister. Their rivalry in district politics dates back to the days when both were in the Telugu Desam. This has been unpalatable to Srihari and his followers, given his administrative experience and leadership stature.
One of the tallest Dalit leaders in Telangana, Srihari who was elected as an MP in 2014, was made to resign and made an MLC, in order to facilitate his entry into the cabinet as Deputy CM holding charge of Education portfolio. This was after the earlier Dalit representative, T Rajaiah was asked to resign in mysterious circumstances.
But in the last six months since the new government took charge, Srihari has been sidelined. He was conspicuous by his absence at the Kaleshwaram irrigation project inaugural event as well.
This has led to talk of a possible move to the BJP which is looking both for Reddy community and SC leaders to beef up the party in Telangana. Buoyed by its success in north Telangana Lok Sabha constituencies of Nizamabad, Adilabad and Karimnagar, the BJP is looking for leaders with a proven track record and community presence to join the party. Which is why Srihari is on the radar.
Many of Srihari’s former colleagues from his TDP days like Peddi Reddy and Suresh Reddy have joined the BJP in recent days. The saffron party is looking at the two Telugu states as potential growth opportunities and wants to attract leadership talent to emerge as the opposition to the ruling party in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
But Srihari is unlikely to make a move in a hurry given that there is talk of a cabinet reshuffle in the next few weeks. He would like to exhaust all possible options within the TRS before seriously considering other offers.