Meteoric rise of Revanth Reddy, from mandal-level politican to Telangana CM
Revanth Reddy, who has risen from the ranks, has managed to steer the embattled Congress to power in Telangana, even defeating the wily KCR. Here's his story
On May 31, 2015, officials of the Anti-Corruption Bureau landed in Enumula Revanth Reddy’s residence in Hyderabad's upscale Jubilee Hills.
Revanth, who was a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA at that time, was arrested on the charge of trying to bribe Elvis Stephenson, a nominated member of the assembly representing the Anglo-Indian community. In a dramatic sting operation, Revanth was ostensibly filmed giving a ₹50 lakh bribe to Stephenson so that he would vote for a TDP nominee in the legislative council elections.
This incident created a stir in political circles. Over time, TDP started to lose its hold in the state and many of its leaders flocked to Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (now Bharat Rashtriya Samiti).
Rise of Revanth Reddy
Revanth alone did not join the ruling party but hooked his fortunes to the Congress bandwagon, which was almost defunct at that time. Slowly, an ambitious, strong-willed Revanth, who belongs to the powerful Reddy community, rose up in the party echelons and became the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president. He overcame all the internal power battles within the party and has now become the Chief Minister of Telangana.
Revanth may be 54, which is young in Indian politics, but he impresses even 24-year-olds.
His strengths have been to overcome all the internal power battles within the Congress party. Known to go against the stream and achieve what he wants, Revanth was never discouraged by setbacks. As an MLA and an MP, he has fought tirelessly for public issues. Mingling with all sections of society, he quickly became a leader of the masses.
He has been in the Opposition benches for the last 20 years, a little less than former CM late YS Rajasekhara Reddy. And, is now credited for defeating a powerful Chanakya figure like K Chandrasekhar Rao. But the rise of this former painter, who did not come from a political family background, has not happened in a single day or a year.
Revanth does not hail from any prominent political family. Instead, he came from an extremely modest farming community.
Born on November 8, 1969 in Kondareddypalli village of Wanguru mandal, Nagar Kurnool district, Revanth as a child led a very simple life. His father Narsimha Reddy is a farmer and his mother Ramachandramma, a homemaker. He graduated from Osmania University and married the late Congress leader, former minister Jaipal Reddy's brother's daughter Geetha Reddy. It was a love marriage and the couple has one daughter.
Revanth, who was drawn to politics, participated in the panchayat elections in 2007. He entered the political arena as an independent candidate for the Midzil Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTC). He won though his rivals belonged to major parties like the Congress, TDP, then TRS and BJP.
Revanth won as an independent candidate in the ZPTC elections in 2007 from Midzil mandal in the then Mahabubnagar district. It is here the seeds of leadership were sown in him.
After he won this election, all the parties started to woo him. Later, he became a MLC, when the Congress was already in power. Revanth then joined the TDP since he admired NTR and Chandrababu Naidu.
In the 2009 assembly election as a TDP candidate, he contested from Kodangal and won against Ravulapalli Gurnath Reddy, a senior candidate of the Congress party. That success increased his charisma. In the 2014 assembly elections held after the formation of Telangana, he contested again on a TDP ticket and was victorious. The TRS, now BRS, came to power in that election. Since then, he has been at war with the ruling party.
Revanth had been the TDLP floor leader in the assembly between 2014 to 2017.
Revanth switched camps from TDP to Congress in October 2017. Within a short span of three years, the Congress leadership entrusted him with key responsibilities and a status no one else enjoyed. He was appointed as the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee working president in 2018. Later, he contested from Kodangal in the 2018 assembly elections but he lost.
In the Lok Sabha elections held in May 2019, he contested from the Malkajgiri parliamentary constituency on the Congress ticket. Later, Congress made him the TPCC president on June 26, 2021.
On July 7, 2021, he was sworn in as the TPCC president in the presence of the then Telangana state Congress Affairs in-charge Manikyam Tagore. Since then, he has actively taken on KCR and worked hard to defeat him in the Telangana assembly elections.
Note for vote case
If there is one incident that Revanth would like to erase from his memory is the sting operation in the note for vote case. He was sent to jail for bribing nominated MLA Stephenson to vote in favour of the TDP candidate in the legislative council elections. A criminal case under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Prevention of Corruption Act – Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code was slapped on Revanth along with two others - Bishop Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha.
The Telangana High Court granted them conditional bail on June 30 and Revanth was released on July 1, 2015. He was greeted by hundreds of his followers outside the jail. The bitter experience of this case continues to haunt him.
However, public memory is short and under Revanth's leadership, the embattled Congress has won a big victory in the state.
The Congress has promised six guarantees to the Telangana people. And Revanth pledged to implement them when he came to power. Only time will tell, if Revanth will navigate the political minefields and manage to restore the glory of the Congress in the state.