Telangana: Malkajgiri MP Revanth Reddy to be new Congress chief?

Hyderabad: Congress member of Parliament from the Malkajgiri constituency Anumula Revanth Reddy has almost been finalised as the new president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), sources said.

Revanth, who is presently one of the working presidents of the TPCC, will be replacing senior leader and Nalgonda MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy. According to unconfirmed reports from New Delhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has approved the appointment of Revanth as the new PCC chief. 

Over the last few years, the Congress in Telangana has been weakened with no strong leaders at the helm since the formation of the state in 2014. Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders of the party are of the opinion that Revanth can put up a tough fight against Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) supremo and chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), source said.

A two-time MLA from Kodangal and a former working president of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Revanth Reddy joined the Congress in 2018. He was the front runner to the TPCC chief after Uttam Kumar Reddy resigned last year after the Congress won only two out of 150 seats in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Elections last year.

Under Uttam, the Congress in Telangana lost the 2018 state assembly, and three major by-elections as well. In fact, Uttam had resigned as the MLA from the Huzurnagar assembly seat in 2019 to successfully contest from the Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat. However, in the subsequent by-election, his wife lost the seat, as the TRS candidate won the seat with a huge margin.

It is also learnt that Sonia Gandhi has decided to revamp the entire PCC to make it effective and strong with a combination of experienced and young leaders. According to reports, former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, former state minister Md. Shabbir Ali and former MP Madhu Yakshi is likely to be appointed as one of the working presidents of the TPCC.

Senior leader and Bhongir MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who was also in the race for the TPCC post, would be elevated to the All India Congress Committee as secretaries. Similarly, former MP Ponnam Prabhakar, who has hitherto been the working president of the PCC, would be made AICC secretary.

Revanth has always staunchly opposed KCR and the TRS, and is generally considered to be fire-brand leader. Earlier when his name had cropped up as a likely candidate for the TPCC chief, it was opposed by the old guard in the TPCC. More details are awaited.

“Revanth is currently the biggest bet the Congress has now. Earlier, it was a belief that there are many trojan horses in the party who can shift to the ruling party or even to the BJP. However, Revanth is one guy who will fight the ruling establishment, and he can grow in the opposition space as well. And for such a thing to happen, you need a fighter. For example, you have Punjab chief minister Amrinder Singh, who is also a fighter,” said political analyst Palwai Ragahvendra Reddy.

Raghavendra Reddy added that the Congress in Telangana has to rebuild its presence from the ground, and that he has all the characteristics that his party needs in a leader. “His biggest challenge will be the people in the party itself. He needs to bring all the factions together. Uttam Kumar failed miserably in it,” the analyst noted.

The last electoral battle in Telangana was the recently concluded Nagarjunasagar by-election, which the ruling TRS won by a comfortable margin. Congress veteran and former cabinet minister Jana Reddy lapped up about 70,000 votes, while TRS candidate (and son of deceased MLA Nomula Narsimiah) Nomula Bhagat won the seat.

The BJP, which has been staking claim as the main opposition, first struggled to find a good candidate there and finally chose a member of the Scheduled Tribe (ST), Dr. P. Ravi, who could however only muster 7646 votes. While Jana Reddy secured 70,504 votes, TRS’s Nomula Bhagat won by securing 89,804 votes.

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