HYDERABAD: Setting at rest the speculation that before long, his son and IT Minister KT Rama Rao would step into his shoes, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday asserted that he will rule the State as CM for two more terms. “Why will I make KTR the CM? I will continue as CM for two more terms. TRS will continue in power for three terms, including the present term. I am just 66. I can continue as CM for two more terms.’’
Without any provocation from the Opposition, the Chief Minister, in his 2.45 hour reply on the debate on the Budget in the Assembly, said: “There is a talk that I will step down and make KTR as Chief Minister. Why will I do that? I am hale and hearty. We are doing all good work. TRS will continue for two more terms, including this term. No one can stop TRS. I will be the Chief Minister in the next two terms too,” Rao declared.
Referring to the rumours, which have been doing the rounds for some time, that he was not keeping good health, the Chief Minister said: “There are even reports that my health is not good and I will go to the US for treatment. If these rumours were true, I would have died some 20 years ago,” he quipped.
Reacting to this, CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said: “You should live for full 100 years. If anybody wished that something should happen to you, it is nothing but baring their cruel intentions. I wish that people of the State will benefit under your rule”.
The Chief Minister’s statement has political significance. Rao bowled several googlies in the Assembly. First, he said no to uranium mining. It will definitely snatch away a powerful weapon from the Opposition.
Next, he tendered an apology to CLP leader Bhatti for his harsh words in the House on Saturday. Rao pleases Bhatti saying that he could tour Khammam district in government chopper to inspect irrigation projects. The chief minister also kept the motorists in good books by opposing the Centre’s new Motor Vehicle Act, which is squeezing money by way of huge penalties.
Finally, Rao declared that KTR would not be made CM and that he would continue as CM for the next two terms. This will douse the political heat, generated due to the internal dissidence within TRS after the Cabinet expansion.
Rao was at his best on Sunday, trying to convert the situation which was slowly becoming hostile into one that was favourable to him, with his honey-laced words.