After Congress’ Big Telangana Win, “No Consensus” On New Chief Minister


Revanth Reddy is widely seen as a front-runner to be named the new Telangana Chief Minister (File)

New Delhi:

There is no consensus within the Congress on who will be the next Telangana Chief Minister, sources told NDTV Monday afternoon, 24 hours after the party eased past K Chandrasekhar Rao’s BRS.

Shortly after the Congress’ win was confirmed its state unit boss, Revanth Reddy, who has been credited with orchestrating the success, had emerged a more than likely candidate for the top post.

However, the fiery 54-year-old, a former member of the BRS and BJP’s youth wing, has his share of critics in the party, and that, it is believed, has raised some red flags over his possible appointment.

READ | Revanth Reddy Built Congress’ Telangana Win, Was Once With KCR, BJP

One set of sources had suggested to NDTV Mr Reddy is first choice; “… we will take a call (based) on the report submitted by the observers (but) Revanth Reddy is the clear front-runner,” NDTV was told.

Mr Reddy contested this election from Kodangal and won the seat. He also contested from Kamareddy – a high-profile clash with KCR that ended with a dramatic twist.

The BJP’s KV Ramana Reddy emerged a giant-killer and defeated both of them.  

READ | “No Star, Got Caught In ‘Star Wars'”: BJP’s KCR, Revanth Reddy Giant-Killer

Others, though, said plans for the swearing-in ceremony – understood to have been planned for this evening – had been postponed “till the decision on the Chief Minister is taken”. These sources also said Congress boss Mallikarjun Kharge will announce a name only after meeting with the party’s election observers, a panel that includes Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.

The observers are due to fly in to Delhi Tuesday, sources added.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the party’s newly-elected MLAs was held in Hyderabad and, as expected, they passed a resolution authorising Mr Kharge to pick a new Chief Minister.

There are at least two other possible candidates for the state government’s top job, and all those hoping to succeed K Chandrasekhar Rao to the chief minister’s post are also lobbying the senior leadership.

READ | Who Will Be Telangana Chief Minister? 3 Congress Leaders Are Frontrunners

One is Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, a Dalit leader who was also a prominent face in the campaign.

Before the polls Mr Vikramarka undertook a 1,400 km state-wide foot march that helped understand voters’ concerns. Sources said the 62-year-old leader’s yatra played a key role in the Congress’ win.

Another is Uttam Kumar Reddy, a seven-time MLA and ex-Air Force pilot who was the Congress’ state boss till Revanth Reddy took over.

He remains a popular face among party workers and may be in the running, if only to avoid possible future rifts by elevating Revanth Reddy to a top post less than 10 years after joining the party.

The Congress – decimated by the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh – secured consolation, of a sort, by claiming victory in Telangana. The party secured 64 seats – four over the majority mark. The BRS swept the state in 2018 with 88 seats but managed only 39 this time.

READ | BJP State Tally Now 12, Congress Down To Three. What It Means For 2024

The BJP secured just eight seats from the 111 it fought but this was seven more than it scored in 2018. In addition, the party also saw its vote share jump from 6.98 per cent to nearly 14 per cent.

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