The man who put up a relentless fight

The man who put up a relentless fight

Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), who spearheaded the Telangana movement and put up a relentless fight for the cause for over a decade, had humble beginnings in an agricultural family from the Chintamadaka village of Medak district.

Now the first chief minister of Telangana, he was born to Raghavar Rao and Venkatamma on February 17, 1954.

He started his political career with the Youth Congress, after receiving a postgraduate degree in Telugu literature. In 1983, he made his entry into active politics by joining the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) after an invitation from its late founder, NTR. Later that year, in his first time contesting the Assembly elections, he was unsuccessful against another Telangana stalwart, A Madanmohan, but never lose since.

Contesting from the Siddipet constituency, he won the Assembly elections in 1985, 1989, 1994 and 1999. He served as transport minister in the Naidu Cabinet, besides as deputy speaker.

Rao, however, resigned after Naidu, who is now set to become the chief minister of newly-formed Andhra Pradesh, tried to sideline him in the name of maintaining a balance of castes in the Cabinet.

In April 2001, KCR founded the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and promised the people of Telangana that he would either achieve statehood or die fighting for it. In 2004, Rao won the Assembly polls from Siddipet and the Lok Sabha polls from the Karimnagar constituency, both as a TRS candidate.

The TRS-Congress alliance had won five seats in the 2004 general elections and Rao’s was one of them. As a Cabinet minister in UPA-I he did not initially have a portfolio, but was later given Labour and Employment.

He resigned in 2006 and subsequently won the by-poll. In the following election, his party joined hands with the TDP under the Grand Alliance, which ultimately hurt both parties.

There were times that many felt that the agitation lost steam and Rao was likened to Marri Chenna Reddy, who gave up the cause for allegedly personal gains. KCR, however, stuck to his guns and reworked his strategy in the for Telangana.

After involving students in the agitation, the Telangana cause became a massive movement and battered the UPA government at the Center and the Congress government in the state.

When the tide went against him, the master strategist KCR proposed that his party would merge with the Congress, but quickly retracted his statement after UPA-II announced Telangana. Rao married Kalvakuntla Shobha on April 23, 1969, and has a son K Taraka Rama Rao (Sircilla MLA) and daughter K Kavitha (Nizamabad MP).

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