KCR the master strategist carefully plotted the attack on his once-trusted and now most-distrusted associate Etela. He knew Etela was a big challenge as his loyalty to Telangana cause was unquestionable. He also knew that Etela comes from a powerful and politically aware BC caste in Telangana. So, he checkmated Etela as per a carefully calibrated plan. Here are the six steps that KCR took to checkmate Etela.
Delay ministry to Etela: KCR took inordinately long time to constitute his cabinet. For several months, KCR and Mahmood Ali were the only two ministers in the government. By this single decision, KCR had sent clear signals that he is the boss and that Etela was not to be counted as being among equals. He also sent indications that lobbyists and party leaders should not go to Etela. This was a clear signal that Etela was no longer his favourite.
Create a rival from the same caste: The second move was to ensure that the Munnuru Kapus, the community to which Etela Rajender belongs, do not go with Etela. So, he made Gangula Kamalakar, also from the same community, a minister. Gangula too is from Karimnagar district. Thus, KCR created an alternative power centre in the district. Etela never reconciled to this and had extremely cold vibes with Gangula. This ensured that the Munnuru Kapus get divided among these two leaders.
Etela gets insignificant ministry: The third step involves removal of Etela from finance ministry. He was given medical and health ministry which was relatively insignificant. This was an indication that Etela has fallen from grace.
Deny funds to Etela's ministry: During the peak of covid crisis, KCR denied funds to the medical and health department. Not just that, he also created alternative power centres in the health ministry. The IAS officers were given more powers and they vetoed every request that Etela made. This made him ineffectual in his own ministry.
Complete isolation: KCR has left Etela completely isolated. Neither he nor KTR met him in several months. The other MLAs and MPs too took the cue and stopped meeting him. He became almost friendless. In the last several months, no leader of any importance met him. The TRS leaders were afraid of even being seen with Etela.
Fixing Etela in land scam: Being a key poultry industrialist, Etela needed lands for his poultry farms. So, KCR blamed him for land grab and ordered an inquiry over amassing 100 acres. This would portray him as a land grabber. So, he would get little sympathy even if he revolted.