Who is Revanth Reddy, Congress’ game-changer in Telangana?
Congress Telangana president A Revanth Reddy greets party workers and supporters celebrating the party's lead during counting of votes for Telangana Assembly elections, in Hyderabad, on Sunday. Photo: PTI

Who is Revanth Reddy, Congress’ game-changer in Telangana?

With the Congress headed for a massive win in Telangana, Reddy is said to be ahead in the race for the post of CM

With the Congress set for a possible win in the Telangana assembly polls, its star candidate and state chief, Revanth Reddy, is leading in both the Kodangal and Kamareddy from where he is contesting. In Kamareddy, Reddy has left behind Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, breathing life to apprehensions that he may actually spell the ruling BRS’ defeat, wresting the chief minister’s chair from the latter.

Who is Revanth Reddy?

So who is Revanth Reddy, and how did he come to the forefront in the Congress in Telangana despite the fact that he joined the party as recently as 2017?

The 54-year-old politician, a Congress MP since 2019, was appointed the president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee in June 2021. Before switching to the Congress, he was part of Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and was elected to the assembly in 2009 and 2014. He was first elected as an MLC in 2007, and prior to that, was only a Zilla Parishad Territorial Council (ZPTC) member.

Reddy is an arts graduate from Osmania University, and is married to the niece of Jaipal Reddy, the veteran Congress politician who was a five-term MP and union minister in the UPA. The couple has a daughter.

Switch in allegiance

As a student, Reddy was a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of RSS. He, however, contested the local body elections as an independent candidate and was elected as a ZPTC member in 2006. The next year, he was elected as an MLC, again as an independent candidate. He then met Chandrababu Naidu and joined the TDP.

He was the floor leader of the TDP in the Telangana Legislative Assembly. But the party removed him from the post in October 2017 after there were reports that he was planning to join the Congress. Later that month, he did join the Congress.

He failed to win the Kodangal seat in the Telangana assembly elections in 2018 as a Congress candidate, but was appointed as one of the three working presidents of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. He then became a Congress MP in 2019, winning from Malkajgiri constituency.

KCR’s bête noire?

Reddy has not been free of controversies. In May 2015, he was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly bribing a nominated MLA to vote in favour of the TDP candidate in the Legislative Council election. About a month later, the Telangana High Court released him on conditional bail.

KCR has accused Revanth of accepting bribes, selling party tickets, and encroaching upon hundreds of acres of land in Kodangal.

The reason why KCR has been over-aggressive towards Revanth during the election campaign is probably because of the manner in which he has managed to unite the Congress unit in Telangana. He has succeeded in controlling dissidence, despite his relatively young age, and has ensured a focussed campaign by all factions towards achieving a victory for the Congress.

After his appointment as the Congress’ Telangana head in 2021, Reddy was active on the ground, leading street protests against the BRS government on various issues. The party also backed him to the hilt. He was seen together with national figures of the Congress, and addressed massive rallies. He seems to have amply justified the faith the party has reposed in him, based on the party’s performance in the assembly elections in Telangana.

What has stood out among everything is his confidence to sweep the assembly polls all along and assurance to dethrone a government that has been in power since the formation of the state. In fact, during a rally in November, Reddy had said that the Congress will win in Telangana while inviting people to be at the swearing-in ceremony at 10.30 am on December 9 at LB Stadium.

Is Reddy being considered for CM post?

While the Congress has not named a chief ministerial-candidate for Telangana, Reddy is said to be among the frontrunners for the post if the party comes to power in the state. Others in the race are Mallu Batti Vikramarka, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, and Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy.

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