From ABVP member to Congress CM contender, Revanth Reddy’s journey has weathered turbulent tides


PTI, Dec 3, 2023, 5:12 PM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party's general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, state chief Revanth Reddy and other leaders during a roadshow ahead of the Telangana Assembly elections, at Malkajgiri in Hyderabad on 28 November, 2023. (Credit: PTI)

Hyderabad: Anumula Revanth Reddy, whose political trajectory has surged from student activism with the ABVP to a brief period of incarceration amid allegations of bribery, now finds himself on the brink of a potential chief ministership.

The 56-year-old Congress leader is known among fellow politicians, partymen and people for his never-say-die attitude. A fierce critic of BRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, Reddy, the Telangana Congress chief, is often the target of virulent political attacks by the BRS and the AIMIM.

The BRS leaders attack him for changing parties, with regard to the 2015 ‘cash for vote’ case in which he was arrested and for allegedly being the ”agent of” TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu. AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi targets him over his ABVP background.

Reddy, who was briefly in BRS (then TRS) was first elected to a political office in 2006 when he was successful in a Zilla Parishad election. He was elected as a Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) member then as an independent. He was elected to the legislative council in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2007 as an independent.

Reddy had joined the TDP and became a confidante of party chief and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. Reddy, a graduate in arts, was elected to the Legislative Assembly on a TDP ticket in 2009 and later in 2014 when Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh.

He faced the biggest challenge of his political life in 2015 when he was allegedly caught on camera trying to bribe a nominated MLA to vote in favour of the TDP in a legislative council election. He was sent to a jail in Hyderabad but was released after he secured bail.

Revanth Reddy lost the 2018 Assembly poll to the BRS candidate and remained in political wilderness for a while. He quit the TDP and joined the Congress in 2017-18 in the presence of party leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.

Reddy was elected to the Lok Sabha in the 2019 elections from Malkajgiri here, described as a ‘mini-India’ in view of the presence of people from all over the country in the constituency.

Reddy was appointed the PCC president in 2021 in spite of being a junior in the Congress. This has led to a heartburn among many seniors in the state Congress unit.

He had the unenviable task of reviving the fortunes of the Congress amid challenging circumstances and succeeded in bringing together the party leaders. The ruling BRS was at the pinnacle of its power and glory after a resounding victory in the 2018 Assembly polls and 12 Congress MLAs joining the ruling party in 2019.

The Congress continued to face setbacks as the BJP scored major wins in the bypolls to two Assembly constituencies and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election during 2020 and 2021 after Bandi Sanjay Kumar took over the reins of the BJP in Telangana.

Undaunted, Reddy continued to lead the party in the face of stiff challenges and the Congress in Telangana saw a change in its fortunes after the Karnataka elections in May this year.

After the momentum generated following the Karnataka win, the graph of Congress rose further in Telangana in view of a perception among people and political circles about an alleged tacit understanding between the BRS and the BJP, especially with regard to allegations against MLC and CM KCR’s daughter Kavitha in the Delhi excise policy case.

Reddy, a football lover, who is considered to be close to Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, could well become the chief minister in view of the Congress coming out on top in the Assembly polls.

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