The Telangana Rashtra Samithi has won two Rajya Sabha seats unopposed from Telangana. The winning candidates are D. Srinivas, former minister and two- time AP Pradesh Congress Committee president, and Captain V. Lakshmikantha Rao, a former minister and cousin of former Prime Minister, the late P.V. Narasimha Rao. TRS’ strength in the Rajya Sabha has now increased to three, with K. Keshava Rao having been elected two years ago. Though the TRS is not part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, it has backed most of its bills including the crucial GST bill.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao kept his promise of allotting an RS seat to the numerically inferior Brahmin community by nominating Captain Lakshmikantha Rao, who is a founder member of the TRS. By choosing D. Srinivas, a heavy weight OBC leader, KCR has also attempted to attract more senior Congress leaders into his fold.
Srinivas had joined TRS one year ago and was made an adviser to the Telangana government with a Cabinet rank. Though he led Congress twice to power—first in 2004 and later in 2009, he was denied nomination to Telangana Legislative Council by the Congress two years ago, owing to his differences with AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh.
By offering RS berths to both Keshava Rao, a former senior leader of the Congress, and Srinivas, KCR has sent out a message to the seniors in the opposition camp that they would be treated well if they switched over to his party. In the last two years, 23 MLAs from the opposition including six from the Congress, 12 from the Telugu Desam Party, three from the YSR Congress and two from the Bahujan Samaj Party have defected to TRS.
Indications are that Congress MP from Nalgonda, Gutta Sukhender Reddy and a senior Congress MLA from Nalgonda, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, are likely to join the TRS soon. Srinivas expressed the hope that some more Congress leaders would join the TRS as CM KCR has been working hard for the development of the state. “Sonia Gandhi may have given Telangana, but KCR is doing a wonderful work to meet the aspirations of the people. Also, there is a greater freedom of expression in the TRS,” he said immediately after his election.