NEW DELHI/ HYDERABAD: Ending suspense, the Congress on Tuesday chosen A Revanth Reddy as the new chief minister of the southern state, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday. The oath-taking ceremony slated to take place on December 7. 56 years old Reddy was the face of the Congress campaign in Telangana.
The announcement put an end to the uncertainty and speculation that mushroomed since the party was declared winner after the counting of votes on Sunday. Over the last two days, a section of state Congress leaders aspirants to the top job have been put up a stiff opposition to his candidature. The 56-year-old politician has rapidly ascended the ranks to become the working president of the state unit, a Member of Parliament, and currently holds the position of Telangana Congress president.
The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, party’s general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal, apart from leaders like D.K. Shivakumar who apparently conveyed to the central leadership that a majority of newly-elected legislators in the state preferred Revath Reddy over others. The Congress scored a massive victory in Telangana by bagging 64 seats in the 119-member Assembly state
Revanth Reddy had joined the Congress from the TDP and was considered close to N. Chandrababu Naidu. He had begun his political career as an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader, traversing through many parties including the Telangana (now Bharat) Rashtra Samithi. At least two possible candidates were in queue for the top job: Dalit leader Mallu Bhatt Vikramarka, and Uttam Kumar Reddy a seven-time MLA and ex-Air Force pilot who was the Congress’ state chief till Revanth Reddy took over.
He was made the Congress party’s state unit chief in 2021, soon after joining. In his role as the PCC president, he organised multiple rallies in which he aggressively attacked chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) and his government for failing to meet people’s expectations. The strategy worked in reviving the Congress, and dislodged the BJP which was fast emerging as the primary opposition party in the state.
Some of these leaders had also opposed Revanth’s leadership and called him a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) implant in the Congress. According to a senior MLA – that 42 of the 64 Congress MLAs supported Revanth Reddy.
Earlier, the Congress had decided to conduct the swearing-in ceremony on December 6, which was postponed following “objections” to Revanth’s candidature. Sources close to them repeatedly pointed out that the Congress did not win any assembly seat in Malkajgiri, which Revanth Reddy represented in parliament. They have also declared him unsuitable on account of a cash-for-vote case against him.
Reports said that leaders like former Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Bhatti Vikramarka, former Congress state chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, former minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, former deputy chief minister Damodar Raja Narasimha were among those who opposed Revanth Reddy on grounds that he had corruption cases against him and could not deliver a majority of assembly seats in his Lok Sabha constituency Malkajgiri.
Reddy married to Geetha, the niece of late Congress leader and former Union minister S. Jaipal Reddy.
(Bureau Report With Agencies Inputs).