TRS will be banking on Vani Devi’s background to counter Professor Nageshwar Rao and candidates of the BJP and Congress.

A collage of CM KCR and Vani Devi
news Politics Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 17:25

On Sunday night, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi announced its decision to field former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s daughter S Vani Devi as its candidate for the Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar graduates' constituency (MLC election). This decision is being hailed as a masterstroke by CM KCR and various strategies are being attributed to have been behind this decision.

Vani Devi filed her nomination on Monday but the election officials informed her that her nomination papers were not in the correct format and hence she filed her nomination again on Tuesday.

‘Unanimously elect Vani Devi as a respect to PV’: TRS

Vani Devi, before heading for her nomination, paid tributes to her late father at PV Gnana Bhoomi on the banks of Hussain Sagar. She was accompanied by TRS leader K. Keshava Rao and state minister T. Srinivas Yadav, who appealed to all other parties to show respect to the late leader by ensuring that his daughter is elected unanimously.

Vani Devi thanked KCR for nominating her as TRS candidate. "I will do my best to live up to his expectations," she said.

PV Narasimha Rao, who hails from Warangal district in Telangana is considered by many as the father of India’s economic reforms. Though the Congress has failed to own the legacy of its late leader, the TRS and the BJP are trying their luck at the same.

PV Narasimha Rao’s legacy

Ever since the formation of Telangana, KCR has tried to own and further the legacy of Narasimha Rao, the first leader from south and the only Telugu to have become the Prime Minister. Highlighting the achievements of 'Telangana's beloved son', the TRS chief demanded that country's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, be conferred on the late leader for his contributions to the nation.

In August, 2020, KCR announced that a resolution would be passed in the Telangana legislative assembly demanding a Bharat Ratna award for the former PM. The CM also decided to name Hyderabad’s famous Necklace Road as PV Gnana Marg. He also announced the establishment of PV Memorial in Hyderabad.

Lauding the former Prime Minister’s legacy, CM KCR had said “PV Narasimha Rao is a symbol of Telangana existence. He was a reformer who initiated several reforms in the country. He was recognised as a great intellectual all over the world. He was a Telanganite who rose to the level of the country’s Prime Minister… We will pass a resolution urging conferring of Bharat Ratna on PV. We have decided to install a portrait of PV in the Assembly. We will request the Centre to install a Portrait of PV in the Parliament.”

“It was due to economic reforms that PV implemented as the PM, the country’s economy was stabilised now. We have to honour such a great personality in a befitting manner,” the CM had said.

BJP Vs TRS Vs Congress

The BJP has again fielded Ramachandra Rao from this constituency while the Congress has fielded its senior leader and former legislator G. Chinna Reddy for Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar seat.

Over 5.17 lakh graduates in the state capital and surrounding districts are eligible to cast their votes.

However, political observers say that the choice of a woman and that too the daughter of a former Prime Minister will make it tough for both the BJP and the Congress to compete with. The TRS probably decided its candidate after carefully taking into consideration the various factors that were favouring the competitors’ candidates.

As Vani Devi is a Brahmin like BJP’s Ramachandra Rao, the TRS will be looking to wean away the voters from the saffron party. The TRS choice is also significant as Vani Devi is an artist, an educationist and a social activist.

Vani Devi to lock horns with Prof Nageshwar Rao 

The ruling party will be banking on Vani Devi’s background to counter eminent academic Professor Nageshwar Rao, a former member of Council who is likely to contest an independent and expected to be backed by the Left parties and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).

"Nominating Vani Devi as TRS candidate is another step by KCR to appropriate late Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's legacy. This follows numerous actions of the Chief Minister in owning PV, who during his last days was allegedly ignored by the Congress party," said political analyst P. Raghavendra Reddy.

He believes that the main contest is likely to be between incumbent Ramchandra Rao and Nageshwar Rao, who is most popular among all contestants. "Considering the scenario, the TRS move, though symbolic in nature, will serve the purpose of making a statement in Telangana," Reddy said.

‘KCR indulging in casteist electoral engineering’: BJP

While political observers are hailing KCR’s move as a masterstroke, the BJP has claimed that TRS’s decision establishes that the TRS party is intellectually bankrupt. BJP Chief Spokesperson K Krishna Saagar Rao said, “TRS had to rope in a rank outsider to its party at the last minute into the MLC contest. It's also unfortunate that CM KCR in his greed to appropriate former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao's political legacy and indulge in casteist electoral engineering, is fielding Smt. Vani Devi in the MLC contest.”

BJP has also claimed that fielding Vani Devi in a no-win contest highlights KCR’s lack of real respect for PV Narasimha Rao.

‘KCR using my aunt for playing dirty politics’

Meanwhile, Narasimha Rao's grandson and Telangana BJP leader N.V. Subhash criticized KCR for fielding his aunt in MLC polls. He alleged that the TRS chief is trying to split Brahmin votes.

He said it was a desperate attempt by the TRS as it knows very well that Ramachandra Rao is going to win the seat. “KCR has played dirty politics to split the Brahmin votes. This is to divert the attention of the people of the Brahmin community. The BJP candidate will definitely win. I will support the BJP candidate and will campaign for him.”

NV Subhash also said that he had a word with his aunt to convey that CM KCR always tried to rekindle the Telangana sentiment by invoking the legacy of Narasimha Rao, who was born in Vangara village in Karimnagar district, now a part of Telangana state.

Narasimha Rao, who also served as the Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh and as a Central minister, was known as a scholar, statesman, a polyglot and an author.

KCR, who launched the centenary celebrations on June 28, released Rs 10 crore for year-long celebrations. He also announced that the celebrations will be organised in 51 countries, where Narasimha Rao has admirers.

If Vani Devi gets elected to Telangana Council, she will be the first member from his family to be elected to the legislature in the new state.

Earlier, Narasimha Rao's eldest son P.V. Ranga Rao had served as minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh.

Narasimha Rao's other son Rajeshwar Rao was elected to Lok Sabha from Secunderabad in 1996.

(With IANS inputs)



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