Telangana: Ramesh Babu stops sulking, calls on KCR, even as cousin Vikas Rao joins the BJP

The BJP is likely to field Vikas Rao from Vemulawada constituency where his family enjoys good rapport with people.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Aug 30, 2023 | 8:45 PMUpdatedAug 30, 2023 | 8:45 PM

Vikas Rao BJP

Chennamaneni Ramesh Babu — who has been ill-at-ease after he was dropped and educationist Chalmada Lakshmi Narasimha Rao brought in to contest the Vemulawada Assembly segment in erstwhile Karimnagar district — met Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Wednesday, 30 August, at his official residence, Pragati Bhavan.

The development came soon after the BJP inducted his cousin Vikas Rao, son of former Maharashtra Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao into the party’s ranks. Ramesh Babu is the son of Chennamaneni Rajeswara Rao, Vidyasagar Rao’s brother.

Probably anticipating that he might lose Ramesh Babu, who is Vemulawada’s sitting MLA, KCR had sent for him.

Also read: BRS going through an initial — and inevitable — phase of dissidence

Ramesh Babu appointed advisor

After initial reluctance, Ramesh Babu called on the chief minister and expressed his willingness to take up the responsibility entrusted to him — advisor to the state government on agriculture, in lieu of denial of Vemulawada ticket to him.

Though KCR appointed him as an advisor to the government for a five-year term and accorded him Cabinet status, Ramesh has been unhappy over KCR’s decision for the past week.

After calling on the chief minister, Ramesh Babu praised him sky-high. He said that in the span of just one decade, KCR had helped the state overcome the crisis that had gripped the agriculture sector in the last six decades.

He showered praises on the chief minister, saying that Telangana has now become a role model for the rest of the country in the progress that it has achieved under KCR’s “visionary leadership”.

He said he would discharge the responsibilities entrusted to him with dedication and commitment at a time the farm sector is bracing for the next leg of development and is was facing challenges.

Also read: Telangana Congress to release Minorities’ Declaration

Dropped due to citizenship issue

KCR had dropped Ramesh Babu as his citizenship issue was still pending before the courts. At the time of releasing the list, KCR appeared sorry that he was dropping Ramesh Babu.

As the second-best offer, the chief minister appointed him as an advisor to the government as Ramesh holds a master’s degree in agriculture from Leipzig, Germany. He earned his PhD in agriculture economics from Humboldt University of Berlin in 1987.

At a time when the party workers in Vemulawada were worried over the future course of action of Ramesh Babu, his decision to play along with the BRS has come as a great relief.

KCR has thus effectively sealed any possibility of dissent in the BRS in Vemulawada. After KCR had announced the names for the Assembly elections, Ramesh had waxed philosophical.

KCR also apparently check-mated the BJP strategy of fielding Vikas Rao, son of Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao who is Ramesh Babu’s paternal uncle. The BJP apparently thought it could appropriate Chennamaneni’s legacy in the constituency and also benefit from the dissidence in the BRS camp against the party leadership.

Initially, after KCR dropped him, Ramesh Babu recalled his father, Chennamaneni Rajeswara Rao — who was a leading communist leader in his days — saying that one should be in politics to serve the people and not for any political sinecures.

Also read: Amit Shah turns AIMIM into ammo to flay BRS

Ramesh’s political career

Ramesh won four consecutive elections to the Assembly since 2009. His uncle, Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, was the Governor of Maharashtra between 2014 and 2019. Ramesh, who went to Germany in search of a job, obtained German citizenship in 1993. After returning to India in 2008, he secured Indian citizenship in 2009.

He successfully contested from Vemulawada in 2009 on a TDP ticket. He joined the TRS (now BRS) in 2010 during the height of the Telangana movement and won a by-election from the same constituency. He was re-elected to the Assembly in 2014 and 2018 as a BRS candidate.

But Ramesh’s troubles began the same year in which he got Indian citizenship. His political rival Adi Srinivas filed a revision petition with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, accusing Ramesh of obtaining Indian citizenship by submitting false documents and concealing facts.

He contended that Ramesh had not lived in India for one year before applying for a passport, which was one of the conditions for granting Indian citizenship. It was also pointed out that he had visited Germany during the period.

His main accusation was that Ramesh had not relinquished his German citizenship and passport.

A committee formed by the Union home minister investigated the allegations and, after nine years, in 2017, submitted a report to the ministry that Ramesh had obtained citizenship fraudulently.

Acting on the report, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled his Indian citizenship in August 2017, which Ramesh challenged in the Telangana High Court.

Vikas Rao joins BJP

Earlier on Wednesday, Vikas Rao made his entry into politics by joining the BJP in the presence of senior leaders at the state party headquarters in Nampally amid much fanfare. Vikas Rao’s wife Dr Deepa also joined the party.

As the Telangana BJP unit is yet to announce its candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections, the party is likely to field Vikas Rao from Vemulawada constituency where Chennamaneni’s family enjoys good rapport with people. The family has dominated the constituency for over four decades.

Though the ruling BRS has declared the name of Narasimha Rao for the Vemulawada constituency, replacing the sitting Ramesh because of his citizenship case, Vikas Rao’s entry into the BJP has made the contest interesting this time.

Vidyasagar Rao’s political experience and his rapport with people would certainly be an added advantage for Vikas Rao to fight against the BRS candidate, according to BJP sources.

Speaking at the party office, Vikas Rao said his family had been rendering services to people for many years and added that he joined the BJP to continue serving the people.

“I will wholeheartedly discharge my responsibilities after whatever task is assigned to me by the party,” he said.

‘State needs qualitative change’

Earlier, Vikas Rao’s followers took out a rally from Karimnagar to the BJP office in Hyderabad.

Union Tourism Minister and Telangana BJP state president G Kishan Reddy, Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar, Nizamabad MP Dharmapuri Arvind, Rajya Sabha member Dr K Laxman, and other leaders welcomed Vikas Rao and Deepa into the party.

Addressing leaders, Kishan Reddy underscored the need for a qualitative change in the state to uproot the ruling BRS in the elections.

He accused Chief Minister KCR of failing to fulfil the promises made to people in the last nine years. He said both the Congress and the BRS were family parties and the AIMIM was mediating between them.

“It is only the BJP that will strive to fulfil the aspirations of the Telangana people,” he said, finding fault with the chief minister for allocating prime lands for construction of the party offices of BRS and Congress instead of giving lands for taking up various development activities with the funds allocated by the Union government.

Also read: Amit Shah reveals BJP’s hand; it’s still Hindutva card in Telangana

‘Selling lands indiscriminately’

Stating that the previous governments in the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh used to protect government lands for future needs, Kishan Reddy said the BRS government was acting as per its whims and fancies and selling lands indiscriminately.

“There is no sufficient land for the construction of 2BHK flats,” he said.

After demolishing huts at several places with an assurance that 2 BHK flats would be constructed, the state government failed to implement its promises, leaving poor people shelterless.

It is a flagship programme announced by the BRS which would provide two-bedroom apartments to homeless people belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) segment.

Kishan Reddy said the poor people staying in over 40 slums did not have their own houses. He alleged that the state government was permitting liquor shops to run even at midnight to encourage increased sales, thereby looting the hard-earned money of innocent people.

“For the first time in the country, the BRS government led by Chandrashekar Rao called for applications from wine shops six months in advance. It was to get additional revenue for the government and it had never happened elsewhere in the county,” he contended.

Referring to criticism by the BRS leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reducing domestic gas cylinder prices by ₹200, he sought to know as to why the state government was not reducing VAT on fuel prices.