The spin doctor's googly


(Views expressed are personal)

Kalvakuntala Chandrasekhar Rao has a weakness that only he can boast of. The man revels in looking at the mirror and say: “I dare. I dare you.”

If the 69-year-old he hates anything, it is being a pale shadow of himself. No, he does not boxing in the dark. Nor pulling punches in the air. He loves playing his lofty shots in a packed stadium. He has a weakness for challenges.

Accepting a gauntlet thrown at him is something he comfortably likes to ignore. It’s not his cup of tea. He’s not that type anymore to be provoked into retaliation. Of course, there were times when his bruised ego would make him dare the challenger only to beat a political opponent to pulp at the hustings. Point proved, he moves on.

Now, the chief minister of Telangana has done something only he could have imagined in his wildest dreams. If he’s got to be a nightmare for his political opponent, he believes that only he should set  the rules. He is convinced that he’s the one to decide the turf. He is more than sure about how to make mincemeat of those who bay for his blood. Not that he did not suffer bruisers on some such encounters before but he regains his poise not to end up a battle fatality.

On August 21, 2023, KCR, the President of the Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) could have easily chided himself and said: “Stop giggling.” That’s because KCR perhaps would have been doing just that as he released a list of candidates from his party for the ensuing assembly elections in Telangana. The fact that he announced the candidates list more than 100 days before the polls are to be held is noteworthy.

It was on December 7, 2018 that the assembly polls were held in Telangana. Going by the presumption that the polling date would be the same this time, it means that he announced his party nominees 109 days in advance. Out of the 119 seats, he announced the names for 115 seats. He dropped seven sitting legislators.

KCR is challenged by his own weakness for springing a surprise. When he had a full nine more months to complete his term as chief minister after the newly formed Telangana state got its first elected government in 2014,  his government resigned. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) as it was then called, did not complete its first five year term only because the independent thinking KCR who calls the shots in the party had a strategic reason. He was averse to the Lok Sabha polls and assembly polls being held simultaneously and therefore got the assembly polls advanced. The Lok Sabha polls were held in April 2019.

Is KCR crafty? Call him a craftsman. A politician who knows his tools.

Is he wily? Call him a willing slave to his own fancies.

Is it a folly to announce the names of his party nominees when elections are, of course, round the corner, but not in sight as the Election Commission is yet to issue a notification for the polls?

What can the possible repercussions be?

Disappointed ticket-seekers may well go against the party.

Dropped legislators will have an axe to grind (if they have not been placated already with some position in the future).

Rival political parties can harvest the disenchantment in the ruling party and exploit it to woo leaders and cadre whose dreams may have fallen flat.

From the way he spoke at the press conference that he addressed on August 21, the battle-hardened politician who has been in public life for more than 40 years, thinks it is a cakewalk for him to form the government for the third time in a row.

Having led the movement for a separate Telangana state which became a reality in 2014, KCR who has served as chief minister since then, has now thrown a challenge at the rival parties, the Congress and the BJP mainly to evolve their own strategies to counter his moves.

The game is wide open.

KCR has a weakness.

 A weakness for success.

He will give it all what it takes to earn his own praise for himself.

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