K. Chandrasekhar Rao will forever have a special place in the history of Indian politics by virtue of being the first Chief Minister of the newly formed state of Telangana. One question that will be doing the rounds of many of his supporters as well as detractors is: will he be able to achieve success in this new role? After all, it is common knowledge that getting to a certain position is easier compared with keeping that position. However, the ones who have followed his political journey and known him are aware of the amount of willpower he has demonstrated in carving out the state of Telangana.
When he had created the Telangana Rashtra Samithi during 2001, many people in the political circles had opined that it would not last long. However, as things stood on May 16, 2014 Kalvakuntala Chandrasekhar Rao won from his constituency (Gajwel) in the district of Medak by a margin of 19,391 votes. His main rival in this case was Pratap Reddy, who was representing the Telugu Desam Party, which had been a staunch opponent of the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
With regards to the Lok Sabha elections, he had won from Medak with a margin of 3,97,029 votes. From this result, KCR had been able to shut his critics up for the time being. During April 2001 he had asked for a seat in the Andhra cabinet but was denied by N. Chandrababu Naidu. From that time onwards his one motto became to project the pride of the Telangana region and its people. In the initial days it was thought that his ideology lacked solidity and that his main aim was to wrangle power. It was also believed that his vision would fail to find takers.
However, in a testament to his will, KCR never wavered from his conviction. He started his electoral journey with wins in the assembly constituency of Siddipet and the Lok Sabha seat of Karimnagar. Between 2004 and 2014 he allied once with the Congress in 2004, in the hope that his dream of achieving separate statehood for Telangana would be realised, but was disillusioned and quit the position of Union Labour Minister during 2006. In the next general elections in 2009 he was associated with the TDP but that too didn’t last long.
This time around, he opted to contest the elections on his own and the results are only a reflection of his political acumen, which is said to be of the highest order. What has stood out during all these years is the way he has dedicated himself to achieve his dream. He put a lot of pressure on the previous government by adopting ways like opting to go an indefinite fast during November 2009. In fact, his condition had worsened to such an extent that P. Chidambaram, then a Union Minister, had to proclaim officially that the government was in favour of bifurcating Andhra Pradesh and creating Telangana.
When KCR understood that it was not sufficient to procure separate statehood for Telangana he asked all the legislators from his party to resign from their Vidhan Sabha posts and ask for a new mandate. This period also saw renewed protests in order to make sure that the issue was alive. He also proposed to the Congress that if they granted statehood to Telangana both the parties could be united. The Congress accepted the offer and the creation of Telangana was announced on July 30, 2013. Soon after, he went back on the said proposal, and as has been demonstrated by the results, it wasn’t necessary in the first place.
His critics have often accused him of arrogance but analysts have stated that his skills as an orator and the levels of emotion surrounding his rallies have helped him become victorious. However, KCR has acknowledged that the buck does not stop with the huge win. He has hinted that the police cases against the participants of the movement will be looked at.
At this juncture it is hard to say how successful he will be as the CM of Telangana. However, one thing can be said for sure: he knows that the people of Telangana have chosen him and his party with a lot of expectations, and that he has a responsibility towards them and their aspirations. How he acts on that knowledge will determine how the state and its people remember him in the future.