Why Is KCR Rattled By Kodandaram?
Hyderabad: The showdown at Indira Park on Monday in the name of Dharna Chowk was totally unwarranted. It was a result of the inflated ego of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) who refused to discuss the issue with Kodandaram. The winner was Professor Kodandaram whom KCR has been keen to snub. Why is KCR so weary of Kodandaram?
During the statehood movement, KCR used to say that there will be no need for Dharna in the new state. He was probably meaning that there will be no place to stage Dharna in the new State. That is what he appears to be ensuing. Two years after forming the government and encouraging mass defections from the opposition parties, KCR has come to assume that he was unassailable. He started adopting a negative attitude towards the opposition, more particularly Kodandaram and his Joint Action Committee. He had been using excessive force in order to suppress the opposition. The amount of police force deployed and strong measures taken to prevent a Dharna or a procession or a protest in any other form exceeded the force used by the Congress governments in undivided AP against the statehood agitation.
KCR, his son K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), nephew T Harish Rao have been the dominant group in the government doing all important work. Other ministers are confined to their ministries working within the boundaries decided by KCR. The party has no rival centre. In short, there is no one either in the party or in government who is in a position to challenge KCR’s authority. He could take it easy and happily run the administration in a democratic manner. The second term is assured. He can make his son the second chief minister. Even Harish Rao, who is certainly more popular among the MLAs and other people’s representatives than KTR cannot stand in the way. As long KCR is around, no one can deny him.
However, KCR’s very nature is autocratic. He has no patience for advice. He thinks he knows everything. He would decide and others have to follow. He has Cabinet colleagues who are tuned to his work culture. His things big. He plans huge dams and infrastructure facilities. But when it comes to dealing with Kodandaram, KCR becomes combative. What is the reason?
KCR knows that Kodandaram is a fighter and his image is intact. It was Kodandaram who took the statehood movement to the final stage after the Centre went back on its decision to concede the demand for a separate state. The decision to divide Andhra Pradesh was announced by P Chidambaram, the then Home Minister on 9 December 2009. After the Congress and TDP MPs and MLAs from Andhra region resigned en masse the Centre had developed cold feet. KCR went back into the silent mode. It was Kodandaram who took up the reins and took the movement to a different level. Of course it was KCR who anointed Kodandaram as president of the Joint Action Committee. The fight entered the last phase. TRS participated in some programmes and kept away from some others. But all the programmes of the movement were decided and executed by Kodandram, Mallepalli Laxmaiah and others.
So, KCR knows that Kodandaram remains the second most popular leader after himself. Kodandaram is not an orator like KCR. He is not politically talented like the chief minister. In the back of KCR’s mind there might be a lurking fear that the professor may become more popular if he was allowed to build a movement against the government. That is perhaps the reason why everyone who was close to Kodandaram has been weaned away by offering positions. Those who got positions because of KCR are more than willing to heap abuses and insults on their master’s bête noire. That has been creating sympathy for the professor which may cause loss of popularity of the chief minister. Add to Kodandaram the leaders of opposition parties who are willing to accept his leadership and work with him. If Kodandaram takes away some of those who were involved in statehood movement and have not been rewarded by the government and the BJP cuts into the BC support base by highlighting KCR’s decision to give 22 percent reservations to Muslims, TRS will be weakened to that extent. That fearing might be making KCR to use more force than necessary against his opponents.