Even 50 days after taking over as Telangana Chief Minister for the second term, K. Chandrashekhar Rao is keeping everybody guessing on formation of a full cabinet.
It was on December 13 that KCR, as Rao is popularly known, had taken oath as the chief minister following the massive public mandate received by his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in December 7 elections.
Along with KCR, Mohammad Mahmood Ali took oath as the only cabinet minister. Ali, a member of Telangana Legislative Council, was Deputy Chief Minister and was holding revenue portfolio in KCR’s previous cabinet. This time the TRS chief has made him the Home Minister.
Since then there has been speculation about the cabinet expansion with no word coming from KCR as to when he will go for a full cabinet.
Political observers say this is unprecedented situation. In undivided Andhra Pradesh, the longest period a chief minister ran the state without cabinet was 17 days. In 1989, N.T. Rama Rao had dismissed the entire cabinet over alleged leakage of budget papers and formed a new cabinet only after 17 days.
“Now the student has surpassed his master,” pointed out an observer referring to the fact that KCR began his political career with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) floated by N. T. Rama Rao.
“Here, the very formation of ministry is avoided which is more bizarre,” political observer Telakapalli Ravi told IANS.
Ever since the TRS retained power by winning 88 seats in 119-member Assembly, there has been speculation on cabinet formation.
Initially it was believed that KCR, a strong believer in astrology and numerology and known for conducting religious ceremonies, was looking for an auspicious time to expand the cabinet. However, as the wait became longer for aspirants of cabinet berth, it was evident that there were other reasons.
The appointment of K.T. Rama Rao as TRS Working President led to the buzz among party circles that KCR is paving the way for his son to take over as the chief minister so that he (KCR) can play a key role in national politics after Lok Sabha elections.
Political analysts believe that KCR wants to field some TRS leaders including newly elected legislators in Lok Sabha elections to clear the way for KTR to take over. They may include KCR’s nephew Harish Rao, who is said to be unhappy over KTR’s likely ascension.
“Not forming full cabinet is irrational. Whatever may be the reason, it is an anti-climax to the popular verdict given to TRS,” said Ravi.
Referring to reports in a section of media that Harish Rao vacated minister’s bungalow over indications that he may not be inducted into the cabinet, the political observer said all these were creating unnecessary speculations which go contrary to the faith people reposed in TRS.
“The chief minister may be very capable, but what about the legislators elected by people? This sends a signal that 90 MLAs of the ruling party are not capable to provide a ministry.”
The analysts believe that KCR anticipate some problems in immediately forming a ministry and has some calculations to do before Lok Sabha elections.
“Convention and democratic norms demand that there is ministry and collective responsibility. Given the so-called regional leadership of KCR, he should have been more democratic and forthcoming in forming cabinet,” said Ravi.