New Delhi, Hyderabad:
Anumula Revanth Reddy, Telangana Congress chief credited with leading the party to a thumping win in the November 30 Assembly polls, is the Congress’s Chief Minister choice, Rahul Gandhi has confirmed to NDTV.
“The decision has been taken,” Mr Gandhi said, categorically saying it is Revanth Reddy who has been chosen for the top post. The decision was taken during a meeting in Delhi attended by Mr Gandhi, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and national general secretary KC Venugopal, among others. A Congress Legislature Party meeting will be held in Hyderabad before the decision is announced.
Fifty-four-year Reddy, who was the face of the Congress’s winning campaign, has faced stiff resistance from within the party in his journey to the top post. The swearing-in ceremony, which was to take place last afternoon, was called off after a section of state Congress veterans opposed the choice of Mr Reddy for the Chief Minister post.
These detractors include former state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy to Bhatti Vikramarka, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy to Damodar Rajanarasimha. They reportedly opposed the outright candidature of Revanth Reddy, pointing to pending corruption cases and the Congress’s poor show in Mr Reddy’s Lok Sabha constituency.
Mr Reddy had also faced a challenge when he was given charge of Telangana Congress in 2021. The former TDP leader was accused of paying crores to get the post.
At that point, the Congress was hardly a challenge to the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi, which had been ruling the state since it was formed in 2014. Over the next two years, Mr Reddy led a spirited campaign against the K Chandrashekar Rao-led party. He was increasingly visible in street protests as the Congress gradually gained strength in the state.
Closer to the election, Mr Reddy’s choice of candidates sparked a new wave of protests within the state Congress ranks. He was accused of “selling” tickets. The seasoned politician, however, was determined to have his way in the list of candidates, knowing well that he wouldn’t get a shot at the top post if he did not have the backing of MLAs.
According to his supporters, as many as 42 MLAs out of the Congress’s 65 are Mr Reddy’s loyalists. This also means that the Congress high command, already reeling from poll setbacks in the heartland, will not risk a mass exodus in the only state it won.