Disappearance of KCR from public view triggers questions about his health

Gali Nagaraja

Hyderabad: A couple of bike-borne young enthusiasts made a dramatic appearance before Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao with placards on Wednesday in the state capital seeking to know the CM’s whereabouts.

With the flash protest, the hush-talk doing round for a week over the “disappearance” of KCR or K Chandrasekhar Rao at a crucial time when the pandemic looms over the state, snowballed into a public talk. The Chief Minister was last seen on July 2 at the launching of the centenary celebrations of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. Since then, social media platforms are awash with the buzz surrounding the KCR’s suspected quarantining, coupled with concerns over his health. The KCR’s health concerns have been to the fore in the wake of over 30 staffers in the Chief Minister’s Office infected with the deadly corona virus.

TV channels keep running live debates involving leaders from the opposition parties on the health condition of the Chief Minister. BJP lawmaker D. Aravind in a live discussion asked the CMO to dispel the rumours about the KCR’s health condition. “Personally, I wish KCR to be safe in the corona time. At the same time, people got every right to know about their leader and that a clarification is warranted from the CMO”, he said.

Telangana State Pradesh Congress Committee (TSPCC) president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy and his party former minister T. Jeevan Reddy said KCR is unwell to monitor COVID- related alarming situation, marked by mounting deaths and an insurmountable incidence of positive cases across the state. Congress MLA T. Jagga Reddy said shortage of ventilators and oxygen cylinders in the district hospitals in the state speaks of poor health infrastructure that stares at people during the COVID crisis in the TRS government.

Governor urged to step in 

Uttam Kumar Reddy and Jeevan Reddy even urged Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to step in and monitor the situation in the absence of the Chief Minister by invoking the section 8 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 in the interest of people at large. The section 8 of the Act that empowers the governor of Telangana envisages, “On and from the appointed day, for the purpose of administration of the common capital area, the Governor shall have special responsibility for the security of life and property of all those who reside in such area.” Earlier, the Governor made a futile attempt to take up a review meeting with the Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and senior officials from Medical and Health department to take stock of the measures in place to contain the pandemic. But the scheduled review did not take off as none from the government turned up to the Raj Bhavan. Tamilisai visited Gandhi hospital and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences where the Covid patients were being treated sometime back and expressed her serious displeasure at the way how the government is responding to the pandemic. Complaints of fleecing of the Covid patients by private hospitals also concerned the Governor.

TRS rebuttal 

Analyst K. Nageswar expressed his reservations over the plea of the Congress, saying application of the section 8 of the AP Reorganisation Act is out of context and it amounts to subversion of the people’s mandate. Quoting the sub-section 3 of the section 8, he pointed out that the Governor shall, consulting the Council of Ministers, act by exercising his/her individual judgement.

TRS senior minister T. Srinivas Yadav asserted that the Chief Minister is hale and healthy. “Where does the CM runs administration from is immaterial to the opposition leaders,” he said in reference to the Congress leaders saying that KCR moved into his farm house at Yerravalli in Gajwel. Telangana, pacing close to 30,000 cases with more than 300 deaths, ranks second in the list of states discredited with poor handling of the pandemic in the country.   

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