Bhatti: From first Dalit LoP to Deputy CM

A Congress loyalist, he has not given any scope for criticism about his conduct

December 07, 2023 09:39 pm | Updated 09:40 pm IST - Hyderabad

Telangana Chief Minister Anumula Revanth Reddy (left), and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka at their swearing-in ceremony at LB Stadium in Hyderabad, on Thursday.

Telangana Chief Minister Anumula Revanth Reddy (left), and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka at their swearing-in ceremony at LB Stadium in Hyderabad, on Thursday. | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

Bhatti Vikramarka, who created a history of sorts after being elected as the first Dalit Leader of the Opposition in Telangana and combined Andhra Pradesh in 2018, is now transitioned himself to emerge as the first Deputy Chief Minister of the Congress in Telangana.

The combined State saw just one Dalit CLP leader, Damodaram Sanjeevaiah but he was the Chief Minister and not the Leader of the Opposition. So Mr. Vikramarka will go into the record books as the one who served as the first Dalit Leader of the Opposition and also the first Deputy Chief Minister of Congress government in Telangana.

A die-hard follower of late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and loyalist to the core without giving any scope for criticism about his conduct, newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana has come a long way in his three-decade-long political journey.

Starting as a member of National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of the Congress in 90’s, Mr. Bhatti’s rise in politics is phenomenal. He has achieved this position because of his hard work, commitment and sticking to the party despite its lows in the aftermath of creation of Telangana State in 2014.

A post-graduate from University of Hyderabad, Mr. Bhatti comes from a family of politicians with his two brothers – Mallu Anantaramulu and Dr. Mallu Ravi representing Nagarkurnool parliamentary constituency during different terms.

Sailing with Dr. Rajasekhar Reddy’s camp, Mr. Vikramarka got his first break as an MLC when the Congress party rode to power in 2004. By 2009, he had gained such confidence of late YSR that he was offered the Madhira seat and won it with convincing majority.

He repeated the feat in 2014, 2018 and 2023 to become a four-time MLA from Madhira constituency. During his earlier stint as an MLA, he was the Chief Whip and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.

In 2019, he was made the CLP leader and continued to hold the post despite a sizeable number of MLAs defecting to the BRS. Undeterred by the setback, he continued to take on the ruling BRS.

But, the high point in political career came when he decided to undertake a padayatra from Adilabad district to Khammam. He emulated his leader late YSR by undertaking the gruelling padayatra covering 1365 kms spanning 109 days. His padayatra culminated with a massive public meeting in Khammam which was addressed by Rahul Gandhi.

Continuing his tempo in the election campaign also Mr. Bhatti pointed out the ‘misrule’ of the BRS and was instrumental along with other Congress leaders like Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy and Tummala Nageswara Rao, who switched over from the ruling BRS, to ensure near clean sweep in erstwhile Khammam district.

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