A. Revanth Reddy | Rise to power

The Congress leader who stayed in the opposition throughout his career has beaten the mighty KCR’s party to become the Chief Minister of Telangana

December 10, 2023 02:30 am | Updated 10:39 am IST

Anumula Revanth Reddy. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Anumula Revanth Reddy. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar | Photo Credit: The Hindu

He loved to tread the path that none dared to walk. Unlike politicians who want to be close to the powers that be, he always loved being a star in the opposition. This uncanny knack is what perhaps made him popular and paved the way to the top political position in Telangana.

Anumula Revanth Reddy, the youngest and first Chief Minister of the Congress after the State was carved out from Andhra Pradesh, loves to defy the impossibilities in politics.

A huge Diego Maradona fan, Mr. Revanth always believes in hard fight. Many thought it was the end of the road for him when he was sent to jail on charges of bribing to buy the vote in favour of the Telugu Desham Party (TDP) MLC candidate and his close friend Vem Narender Reddy in 2015.

Challenge to KCR

But that famous image of twirling his moustache and challenging the then Chief Minister, K. Chandrashekhar Rao, that ‘he would come back to show his stuff’ reveals his confidence. He bounced back from such a situation to enter the Secretariat as the Chief Minister.

Spirited, ambitious and yet sometimes outlandish with his dreams, Mr. Revanth has never been in a ruling party in his political career of 17 years and never held an administrative post.

Editorial | Power to the people: On Telangana as a potentially rewarding challenge for the Congress

A first generation politician, Mr. Revanth secured the Pradesh Congress Committee leadership in Telangana in 2021, within years of joining the party from its arch-rival, the TDP. He was the working president of the TDP in the newly formed Telangana and this change happened despite Congress loyalists opposing his entry.

In the 2023 elections, Mr. Revanth rewrote the Congress party’s history in Telangana winning 64 seats, the highest ever from this region even when it was part of the combined Andhra Pradesh.

What mighty Congress figures like Marri Chenna Reddy could not achieve as PCC presidents, he made it possible.

During his college days, he had a stint with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). But he was never part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). And he took chances with every political opportunity coming his way on the road to be the CM.

First mark

Mr. Revanth made his first mark winning as a Director in the prestigious Jubilee Hills Cooperative Society where the bigwigs of the political, corporate and film fields live. But his genuine political fight started when he won the Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) from Midjil mandal in Mahabubnagar district in 2006 as an Independent candidate.

He shocked the most powerful Chief Minister of his time Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy when he beat the official Congress candidate in the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) elections in 2007. Realising a potential leader for the future, YSR invited him to the Congress party, but Mr. Revanth chose the opposition TDP.

After the formation of Telangana, he realised that the TDP would not take him to his dream and joined the Congress in 2017, resigning as an MLA. He became a thorn in KCR’s flesh as he constantly attacked him in his inimitable Telangana dialect laced with local proverbs while in the process capturing the hearts of the people.

Such was the annoyance of KCR that he put all his might and muscle into defeating Mr. Revanth in the Kodangal constituency in the 2018 Assembly elections. But he bounced back in just four months winning the parliamentary election from Malkajgiri constituency, which brought him closer to the Congress leadership. In hindsight, he agrees his defeat in the Assembly elections helped him reach the present position.

He is married to Geetha, the niece of former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy. He has a daughter, Nymisha, and a grandson, Riyansh (which means the first rays of the sun).

Playing with his grandson at his residence, he told this correspondent once that he wants to be the ray of hope for the Congress party to come back to power in Telangana. And he took the Congress to power in the State.

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