IT and Panchayat Raj minister K.T. Rama Rao has emerged as the second most powerful man in his father K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s cabinet in Telangana, after being rewarded with the municipal administration and urban development (MAUD) portfolio. KCR handed over MAUD to KTR after ruling TRS’ big victory in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls early this month.

KTR had been entrusted with the task of leading the party in the GHMC elections. The TRS bagged 99 out of 150 divisions and wrested the posts of mayor and deputy mayor on its own.

KTR is singularly credited with impressive wins in the areas predominantly populated by Andhra people. Both mayor Bonthu Rammohan and deputy mayor Baba Fasiuddin were handpicked by KTR.

The Municipal affairs portfolio may be a less glamorous portfolio in other states, but it is significant in Telangana as 45% of its population lives in urban areas and the GHMC alone accounts for one third of that of the state. Over half of Telangana’s revenues, both excise and commercial taxes, are collected from the city alone.

As the minister in charge of three key portfolios — IT, Panchayat Raj and MAUD — KTR, 39, now commands the largest number of IAS officials in the government. Senior officials in the government recall that no other minister had held both urban (MAUD) and rural (Panchayat Raj) areas. Sources in the finance department told The Sunday Guardian that a lion’s share of the total estimated Rs 1.5 lakh crore budget for 2016-17 will be allocated to the three portfolios held by KTR.

Though there are two deputy chief ministers, Mohamood Ali and Kadiam Srihari, their chambers pale before that of KTR both in terms of the number of visitors and the bustling activity. Asked by The Sunday Guardian in a recent interaction about his growing clout and importance in the government, KTR replied that he was indebted to his father and the Chief Minister for entrusting greater responsibility to him. “I think this is a privilege to serve the people of the state and an opportunity to prove myself. I am ready to work hard on whatever job is given to me,” said KTR.

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