CBN, KCR: Two Buddies From The Same School
Hyderabad: Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were together in politics for two decades. They have been in adversarial roles for more than a decade. But there are striking similarities between the two successful politicians.
To start with, both started their political careers with the Grand Old Party. Both made rounds in Delhi for recognition and positions. They were encouraged by senior Congress leaders. While Rajagopala Naidu got the Congress (I) ticket for N Chandrababu Naidu (CBN) to fight in 1978 elections and YS Rajasekhar Reddy helped him initially to get a berth in Anjaiah’s Cabinet, it was Madan Mohan whose footsteps K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) followed. CBN won in 1978 elections and became minister. But he lost in 1983 to a candidate fielded by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), floated by his father-in-law NT Rama Rao. CBN slowly migrated to TDP. KCR, on the other hand, migrated to the TDP before getting the party ticket for the Assembly elections in 1983. He lost to his mentor Madan Mohan, who was a Congress candidate, in 1983 by some 800 votes. But when the mid-term elections were held, after overcoming Nadendla’s challenge, in 1985, KCR won never to lose an election again.
CBN encashed the disillusionment widespread in his caste with NTR who married Lakshmi Parvathi and gave her a share in power. Newspaper baron Ramoji Rao encouraged CBN to revolt against NTR and grab the reins.
CBN had the fortune of his father-in-law being the Chief Minister who left the nitty gritty of the party affairs to his younger and dynamic son-in-law. CBN has taken advantage of NTR’s weakness for Lakshmi Parvathi. He became the Chief Minister of AP after dethroning NTR.
When CBN has preferred former CBI director Vijayaramarao Rao over KCR after 1999 elections and made the former a minister and appointed the latter as deputy Speaker of AP Assembly, he committed a political blunder. KCR had revolted, quit the job and the party and founded Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). The rest, as they say, is history.
In 2014, both the friends won elections and became Chief Ministers. Compared to KCR, CBN is extra cautious. KCR had encouraged Talasani Srinivasa Yadav m, a TDP MLA to defect to the TRS and inducted him into his Cabinet without any hesitation. KCR had got MLAs and MLCs belonging to the Congress, the TDP and the YSRCP to defect with impunity. CBN took the cue and admitted MLAs and MLCs from YSRCP and the Congress. CBN has taken 21 YSRCP MLAs into his fold and made four of them Ministers.
While KCR had made his son a minister in 2014 itself at the very outset, CBN took almost three years to induct his son Lokesh into the Cabinet. It was done through backdoor by getting him elected to Legislative Council by MLAs, the safest method possible. Lokesh was given the same portfolio IT which has been handled by KTR. The similarities between CBN and KCR do not stop there.
CBN has also followed KCR by building a palatial house at Jubilee Hills. KCR had done it at Government’s expenses, called it the official residence of the chief minister while CBN had mixed both Government funds and personal funds in a rather murky way. KCR is younger than CBN by a couple of years. But KCR is bolder and faster compared to CBN. That is why CBN is seen following in the footsteps of KCR.