Telangana IT and municipal administration minister K.T. Rama Rao has emerged out of his father and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s shadow, thanks to his successfully conducting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and launching the Hyderabad Metro Rail in the city. KTR not only won Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attention but also an invite to the US by Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of US President Donald Trump.
Ever since it was known that the two events would be held on the same day in the city, KCR had set up a panel of ministers and officials led by his son to look after the arrangements. Sources close to the CM told this newspaper that on Friday KCR complimented his son for the smooth conduct of both events.
However, the CM’s expectation that PM would allot him 10 minutes’ time to submit a memorandum on marginally increasing the quota reserved for Muslims and the Scheduled Tribes was not met despite PM Modi being in the city for about 10 hours. The PMO said in a communication to the CMO that it would not be possible for the PM to receive any delegation.
However, PM Modi addressed BJP workers at the Begumpet old airport for about 15 minutes and asked them to work hard to win the next elections in Telangana. The PM also refuted KCR’s allegation, made only a few days before in the Assembly, that the BJP led NDA government at the Centre was speaking about cooperative federalism, but not practising it.
The PM, as per sources in the BJP, hasn’t taken lightly KCR’s plans to stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi with all his MLAs to press for increasing the Muslim quota.
These differences between the PM and KCR were palpable as the generally talkative KCR maintained some distance from the former during the 13-minute long inaugural ride on Metro, where they sat separately (Governor Narasimhan sat in between) and didn’t have any conversation.
However, KTR sat next to the PM and explained the salient features of the Hyderabad Metro and his father’s plans to expand it to new areas. When KTR told him that efforts are on to extend the metro to Shamshabad International Airport, 30 km from the city, the PM endorsed the idea, saying: “Airport should be connected with metro rail.”
PM Modi told KTR how he had worked hard for the metro rail in Ahmedabad when he was the CM and how the project has become a success due to his efforts. When KTR told the PM that the Telangana government was planning to beautify River Musi that flows across Hyderabad city, the PM explained how River Sabarmati was beautified and cleaned when he was Gujarat’s CM.
When PM Modi was about to cut a ribbon marking the inauguration of the metro rail, he noticed that KTR was not around. He turned back and made the young minister come forward and stand next to him. “It appeared as if the PM is keen on issues pertaining to development but not on petty politics,” said BJP Telangana president K. Laxman, while talking to this newspaper.
Even at GES, KTR stole the show by moderating the first session on entrepreneurial chances to women. The session was attended by Ivanka Trump, former UK PM’s wife Cherie Blair and ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochar. When KTR said that for the last one month he didn’t feel like minister for a IT (information technology), as IT stood for Ivanka Trump, the audience burst into an applause.
KTR at the end of the GES announced a slew of steps to boost women entrepreneurs from all over India by setting up a WE-Hub and allocated an initial grant of Rs 15 crore. He said that the WE (stands for women entrepreneurs) HUB would invest amounts from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore in startups of women.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant commended KTR’s initiations at GES while he announced another cell in his organisation for women entrepreneurs, led by his colleague Anna Roy. Kant thanked KTR for announcing a policy that at least 6%-10% of the total purchases made by the state government would be from the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) owned by women.