Rama Krishna Sangem
Anumula Revanth Reddy was chosen as the new Chief Minister of Telangana by the Congress high command for a wide range of reasons. His selection as the Congress Legislature Party leader on December 5 evening in Delhi preceded some anxious moments in Hyderabad. A series of meetings, discussions and assessments at the AICC level finally led to Revanth’s selection as the second CM of Telangana.
What weighed in his favour are a combination of factors: Rahul Gandhi’s clear support, a majority of party’s internal survey reports, backing from a considerable number of new MLAs and finally the future needs of the party to win 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Of course, his relatively young age and aggression are added points that tilted scales in his favour to occupy the coveted CM post.
Revanth is just 54, born on November 8, 1969, and is just seven years old in Congress (he joined the party in 2017) and only three years senior as PCC president (he took the post in 2021 July). There are many seniors to him in the party. Most of them have put in decades of experience and held minister posts for long much before Revanth entered politics. Naturally, they have every reason to press their candidature for the CM post.
How Revanth bought peace with all
Much before the elections, say, around eight months, Revanth cultivated good relations with all seniors in the party. He met them personally and knew their interests. As Congress win in Karnataka gave him confidence that the same can be repeated in Telangana, the number of aspirants for MLA tickets went up. Naturally there were many aspirants and more lobbying for each seat.
After BJP failed to wean away two estranged BRS leaders – Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy and Jupalli Krishna Rao, Congress had an opportunity. Revanth seized it. He quickly followed up the momentum and convinced another Khammam senior leader Tummala Nageswara Rao to join Congress. These joining have enhanced Revanth’s position in the party as well as helped him to create a winning mood.
This has impressed Rahul Gandhi and others at the AICC. In fact, Rahul, Priyanka and even Sonia are regularly watched politics of Telangana, because, they always felt the party should have come to power in 2014 itself. In a way, they have some disappointment with the leaders who led the party at the time. They also sensed the josh in the party only after Revanth took over the reins of Telangana PCC.
Being junior to many – both in age and seniority in the party – helped Revanth. He went to residence of all seniors in the party and told them that he would respect them and take their advice. Veterans like K Jana Reddy indicated to him that they would retire but their son’s should be given tickets. Revanth promptly obliged their requests. He personally went to former MP and BJP leader Vivek and invited him into Congress.
Rahul Gandhi’s priority to winnability of candidates too helped Revanth consolidate his position in the party. For instance, senior BRS leader Mynampalli Hanumanth Rao joined Congress on a condition – that he and his Rohit be given tickets. Finally, Rohit won but Hanumanth Rao lost. But, cemented Revanth’s image as go-getter. Who means business. His initiatives worked in most cases though failed in some.
Many other seniors like Uttam Kumar Reddy or Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, aspirants for CM posts, do not have this initiative or aggression. Congress top leadership realised that it needed leaders like this – DK Shiva Kumar in Karnataka and Revanth in Telangana. They think the days of gentlemen politicians have gone. Otherwise it is impossible to fight with leaders like PM Modi or KCR.
Who said what in the last 2 days
At the newly elected MLAs meeting in Hotel Ella in Hyderabad on December 4 morning, only 20-25 MLAs out of the total 64 said they wnat Revanth as the CM. Another 15-20 said, they would want him and some had no choce at all, but would abide by anyone chosen by the high command. Only four or five like Uttam and Bhatti said they too want the CM post. DK Shiva Kumar who gathered their views had a tough time to prepare a report to the high command.
Bhatti, present CLP leader and a Dalit argued that his elevation to CM post would help Congress improve its image. As former CM KCR promised before Telangana formation to make a Dalit as CM, Congress can do it now. But, due to his docile personality and mild nature, the high command ignored his arguments. What Bhatti or Uttam wanted was some guarantee from the high command that Revanth as CM would not ill treat them in future.
Same is the case with a few others too – like Komatireddy Venkat Reddy or Sridhar Babu. Rahul took into consideration of their views and told his point man KC Vernugopal to see to it that all were assured of some role in the new government and importance. Finally, Bhatti and Uttam were called to Delhi on December 4 night and told to cooperate with Revanth as CM. That’s why Venugopal on Tuesday said: “There won’t be One man show in Telangana now”.