Political Pickle

KCR to expand cabinet today, speculation over KTR, Harish

Ever since he expanded his two-member cabinet (including himself) in February 2019, there has been speculation over when K Chandrasekhar Rao will fill in the remaining six berths in his ministry. The auspicious day is on Sunday, 8 September when Raj Bhavan will see hectic political activity. First at 10:45 am when the Governor Designate Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan will be sworn as the First Lady of Telangana. Then at 4 pm, the Governor will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers. 

There is interest over whether a few MLAs will make it to the KCR cabinet and whether a select few will be handed over the pink slip. In the first category are TRS Working president and KCR’s son, KT Rama Rao and Former Irrigation minister and KCR’s nephew Harish Rao. Enough has been written about how Harish Rao has been sidelined in the TRS and confined to his Siddipet constituency. But the political grapevine has it that both cousins may be sworn in as ministers. 

All of Telangana, especially Hyderabad is worried about its health status, given the large number of dengue, malaria and viral fever that are being reported. Health minister E Rajender will however, worry about his own political health. KCR will have to take a call over whether to retain him given the allegation of having leaked details of a secret meeting over the new Revenue Act. That was followed by an outburst by Rajender this week and a subsequent mellowing down after a phone call from the TRS leadership. Rajender’s fate will not just decide the Karimnagar leader’s future, it will also be commentary on the thinking of the party leadership. 

Education minister Jagadish Reddy who was in the line of fire after the Intermediate Exam results fiasco, will be another leader under the radar. 

Sabitha Indra Reddy, who defected from the Congress and was Home minister in YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s cabinet, is expected to become a mantri again.

If KTR makes it into the cabinet, the question is who will KCR make the TRS Working president or will he give the post a go-by? He had made KTR the Working president after the assembly elections because he wanted him to supervise the Lok Sabha election campaign as well as give himself elbow room to network at the national level. Things have changed dramatically after the Lok Sabha election results, raising questions over whether the party needs a Working president. 

KCR’s daughter Kavitha who lost from Nizamabad could be in the running if the CM wants to give her the space and the position to get back into the political limelight. 

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