Hyderabad: Exactly 20 years ago, a 46-year-old man set out to free the people of Telangana from virtual subjugation, turn the parched drought-prone region into lush green expanses by harnessing river waters, and make the lives of people covering all sections of society happier. Essentially, he dared to dream of making what was once considered one of the most backward areas in the country a ‘Bangaru Telangana.’
Cut to the present – not only did the person we have come to know as ‘KCR’ achieve the seemingly impossible task of getting statehood for Telangana but has also, in just a span of six years, taken the State to dizzying heights on all fronts. From completing mega irrigation projects like the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme to attracting unprecedented investments in industry, from implementing never-thought-of welfare initiatives like Aasara pensions, Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima to taking up schemes such as Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s signature is evident all around.
Monday was a special day for the people of the State when Chandrashekhar Rao turned 66. And what took the ‘cake,’ literally, was the mass participation in the mission closest to the Chief Minister’s heart – making Telangana green through tree plantation. Responding to a call given by IT and Industries Minister and Chandrashekhar Rao’s son K T Rama Rao and Rajya Sabha MP J Santosh Kumar to plant saplings to show their affection for their leader, Ministers, MPs, legislators, party leaders, officials, villagers and the man on the street took to planting of lakhs of saplings across the State. There were, of course, the usual cake cutting and blood donation camps that went with the occasion but the focus remained on the green drive.
Chandrashekhar Rao’s popularity, and his stature as a leader, can be gauged from the fact that greetings poured in not only from the leaders and people of the State, but also from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Prakash Birla, Governors, including Tamilisai Soundararajan, Chief Ministers, including Y S Jaganmohan Reddy (AP), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Edappadi K Palaniswami (TN) and Conrad Sangma (Meghalaya).
Chandrashekhar Rao’s magnetic personality is perhaps best described by Rama Rao, who tweeted: “To the most versatile, courageous, compassionate, charismatic and dynamic man that I know, the man I am proud to call my father.” The people of Telangana believe the same of their leader.