Harish Rao set to join BJP

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Hyderabad: Fed up of being sidelined, top TRS leader T. Harish Rao is said to be seriously considering plans to move to the BJP on an invitation from top leaders of the party.

The shock move could seriously affect, and even split, the TRS as Mr Harish Rao has worked at the grass-roots level since the inception of the party and is very well networked.

He has been invited by the Congress in the past, but the party had nothing much to offer. The muscle that the BJP offers could well help Mr Harish Rao split the party.

For years the go-to man for TRS chief and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Mr Harish Rao, as also other leaders, had been marginalised with the arrival of Mr J. Santosh Kumar, the CM’s nephew.

Mr Kumar’s role has led to a lot of disquiet in the party ranks. Several senior leaders have complained in private of sudden lack of access to Mr Rao and have blamed Mr Kumar for it. They have said the only reason they are sticking on is because the TRS seems invincible

Twice in recent months, the TRS had to go back to Mr Harish Rao. During the recent Assembly polls, the CM turned to him to win crucial constituencies and even provided him a helicopter. That came after Mr Harish Rao began getting blanked out in the TRS media organisations.

More recently, Mr Harish Rao was dropped from the list of star campaigners but was reinstated only after strong feedback from the party. Ironically, the leader who was dropped to accommodate Mr Harish Rao was Mr J. Santosh Kumar, the CM’s nephew.

Some sources said that Mr Kumar was only playing a role etched out for him by the CM, who was aware of what he was doing.

If this is true, Mr Harish Rao would join a long list of leaders who have fallen by the wayside.

Mr Harish Rao is expected to make his move after the Lok Sabha election results. The BJP wants to build a strong base in the southern states and Mr Harish Rao’s presence in its ranks could give it a strong footing in Telangana state.

The BJP has of late begun attracting leaders to its fold. With the withering away of the Congress, it could emerge as the alternative, with the support of Mr Harish Rao and his team from the TRS.

While that is so, readers are advised to remember this is April Fool’s Day.
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