Telangana Congress Chief Revanth Reddy Will Be Chief Minister

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Telangana Congress Chief Revanth Reddy Will Be Chief Minister

Earlier this evening, Rahul Gandhi declared that the decision “has been taken,” and named Revanth Reddy.

New Delhi:

Anumula Revanth Reddy — who led the Congress to a massive victory in Telangana — was formally picked as the chief of its Legislature Party this evening, clearing the decks for him to be the state’s next Chief Minister. The oath ceremony will be held on Thursday, senior Congress leader KC Venugopal said at a press conference.

The decision was taken this evening at a meeting of senior leaders led by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge. Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and Telangana Congress in-charge Manikrao Thakre were present at the meeting.

The announcement put an end to the uncertainty and speculation that mushroomed since the party was declared winner after the counting of votes on Sunday.

Over the last two days, a section of state Congress leaders — aspirants to the top job — have been putting up a stiff opposition to his candidature.

At least two possible candidates were in queue for the post: Dalit leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, and N Uttam Kumar Reddy, a seven-time MLA and ex-Air Force pilot who was the Congress’ state chief till Revanth Reddy took over. Earlier today, Uttam Reddy declared that he is in the running for the Chief Minister’s post.

Sources close to these leaders have repeatedly pointed out that the Congress did not win any assembly seat in Malkajgiri, which Revanth Reddy represented in parliament. They have also declared him unsuitable on account of a cash-for-vote case against him.

Uttam Kumar Reddy has said the win in Telangana could not be attributed to one leader and that it was a collective effort. Bhatti Vikramarka, who undertook a 1,362-km footmarch over four months, contended that loyalty needs to be considered too before taking a call on the top job.

But earlier this evening, Rahul Gandhi declared that the decision “has been taken,” and named Revanth Reddy, who is currently on his way to Delhi.

With the spectre of the events in Madhya Pradesh – where Kamal Nath’s government collapsed two years ago after Jyotiraditya scandia defected with 20-plus loyalists – still fresh, the Congress today said it would “not be a one-man show”.

“It will be a team” that takes all the key decisions, Mr Venugopal said in presence of Uttam Kumar Reddy and Bhatti Vikramarka. Sources indicated that it is likely that the party will announce one or more Deputies for Mr Reddy.

Mr Reddy already has the support of 42 of the party’s 64 MLAs. But given the slim majority of the Congress, a walkout by even five MLAs could pull down the government.

Sources close to the Chief Ministerial aspirants, though, have pointed out that these leaders are longtime Congress loyalists who only want recognition for their years of service.

Mr Reddy, 54, has been credited with leading the Congress to victory in the country’s newest state, which has been consistently voting for K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi since its formation in 2014.

Mr Reddy joined the Congress from Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party six years ago. Since his appointment as the state unit chief two years ago, he has been leading from the front, increasing the party’s visibility and engagement with the voters.

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