“There are others to vote for. I will vote for Revanth Reddy. He is the one who fights hard with TRS and KCR. We have to choose a person who will not join TRS after winning the elections. "
These were the words of a woman aged over 70 on the day of polling for Lok Sabha elections in the Malkajgiri constituency. Her wish was fulfilled too as Reddy, who on Wednesday took over as president of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee, was elected MP from the largest Lok Sabha seat in the country.
Reddy’s elevation has not come as a surprise to many, though there were several voices against him. A powerful orator, he has always waged a battle against the ruling TRS and the chief minister’s family.
The 51-year-old has been active in student politics since his college days. During his graduation days, he joined the All India Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Osmania University.
Reddy then began his association with the Telangana Rashtra Samathi, his current bête noire, and entered active politics.
In the 2004 polls, Reddy was expecting a party ticket from the Kalwakurthi constituency. However, his hopes were dashed when the TRS joined hands with the Congress and the Kalwakurthi seat was allotted to the grand old party.
He was once again unable to get a TRS ticket to contest the Zilla Parishad elections. But this time, Reddy contested as an independent candidate and won the elections.
Reddy then entered the legislative council in 2007 as an independent candidate, winning as an MLC.
After that, he joined the Telugu Desam Party and who contested from Kodangal constituency in the 2009 assembly elections. He won with a majority of nearly 7,000 votes, defeating his rival — Congress candidate Gurunath Reddy — who had served as an MLA five times in a row.
Reddy’s attacks at the ruling party soon drew everyone’s attention. As an opposition MLA, the then Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy was accused of several corruption cases.
During the Telangana movement, Reddy remained with the TDP, which was known for supporting the idea of a united Andhra Pradesh.
Reddy also won the 2014 elections as an MLA from Kodangal for the second time. He was later elected Telugu Desam Party floor leader in the Legislative Assembly and working president of the party.
After the formation of Telangana state, the remaining MLAs who won from Telugu Desam party joined TRS as part of Operation Aakash launched by KCR in the name of political reunification.
In 2015, Reddy was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after he was caught on camera giving Rs 50 lakh to Elvis Stephenson, the nominee legislator, to support the TDP candidate in the MLC elections.
From then on, politics in Telangana changed rapidly.
As part of the ACB case, audio tapes containing the voice of then AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu came out. The AP capital was moved to Vijayawada, with strategic pressure of KCR on Chandrababu.
MLAs and MPs of the TDP soon flocked to the TRS. Realising that there was no future for the TDP, Reddy joined the Congress party in 2017. He was made the party’s working president and also canvassed as a star campaigner on behalf of the party in the 2018 assembly elections.
At one stage, there were rumours that Reddy is the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress party. However, his defeat in his own constituency, Kondagal, put the buzz to rest.
Reddy then tested his luck in the 2019 parliamentary elections and was elected as an MP from Malkajgiri parliament constituency.
The leader’s elevation as PCC president has not gone down well with a section of senior leaders in the party. However, soon after his appointment, Reddy met all the functionaries in a clear signal that he would work with them for the future of the party.
“Some leaders opposed my candidature. These are all differences of opinion in the party, not differences," said Reddy.
Talking about Reddy’s new role, Subramaniam, a senior journalist, said: “It is a good decision taken by the Congress party but too late. Reddy is a leader who is naturally aggressive and capable of mobilising the masses. Other leaders are all outdated. Some of those who left the Congress and joined BJP and the TRS may think again and join Congress again. Reddy made the Congress an alternative of TRS. We have to see how it works out."
Reddy was born on November 8, 1969, in an agriculture family and married Geeta, who is a close relative of former Union Minister Jaipal Reddy. They have a daughter named Naimisha Reddy for whose engagement in 2015, Reddy was out on parole.