Hyderabad: A slip of the tongue by M Satyanarayana Rao, popularly known as MSR, during an informal interaction with the media, enhanced the popularity of KCR and finally helped in the formation of Telangana State.
Later on, his decision as PCC chief permitting YS Rajasekhara Reddy to undertake his famous padayatra also helped the Congress to come to power and made YSR Chief Minister, dethroning N Chandrababu Naidu. Thus, MSR helped two top leaders grow politically in the erstwhile combined Andhra Pradesh.
In 2006, MSR who was a Minister in the YSR Cabinet, challenged TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao to resign and seek a fresh mandate, if the pink party leader had any guts. MSR’s casual, off-the-cuff remark prompted KCR to resign as Karimnagar MP and seek a fresh mandate. He won by a majority of 2.5 lakh votes which was held for the first time on a Telangana slogan.
KCR had then declared that if he was defeated in the bypoll, formation of Telangana would be delayed and if he won, it would help in the formation of a separate State. After that there was no looking back for TRS or KCR.
Chandrasekhar Rao won the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat in 2004 elections and later he was inducted into the Union Cabinet as Labour Minister. KCR walked out of the Union Cabinet in 2006. Three weeks later, MSR, the then Endowments, Sports and Cultural Affairs Minister in the YS Rajasekhara Reddy Cabinet in combined Andhra Pradesh, said that KCR won from Karimnagar due to the Congress votebank. He dared KCR to resign as an MP and seek a fresh mandate. Rao readily accepted this challenge. MSR even said that he would take political sanyaas, if KCR was re-elected as an MP.
However, MSR’s challenge and KCR’s resignation later caused embarrassment to the top State Congress leaders including the then Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. In the bypoll, KCR contested again on a TRS ticket, while the Congress fielded T Jeevan Reddy as its candidate. Later, YSR moved heaven and earth to see that the Congress candidate defeated KCR.
He even roped in MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi to campaign for the Congress. Despite the best efforts put in by all the Congress leaders, KCR won with an overwhelming majority. Owning moral responsibility for Jeevan’s defeat, MSR, later resigned as Minister. From then on, the popularity of KCR grew manifold. The rest is history.
The other incident was when YS Rajasekhara Reddy wanted to take out a padayatra across the State. Sonia Gandhi, as AICC president refused permission for the same. But, as PCC chief MSR accorded permission to YSR. Sonia refused to call on YSR, when he took a brief halt from his padayatra at Rajahmundry after he fell sick. But due to MSR’s decision, the Congress regained power in the State ending the 10-year rule of the TDP.