A tiger cannot change its stripes. Ditto for the Congress leaders who will go out of their way to spike a rival’s chances.
That seems to have happened with Revanth Reddy’s elevation as Telangana Congress president. His family photograph with Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday (pic below), going by the rarity of such a gesture, was seen as an indication of things to come. Reddy being a firebrand leader and vehemently opposed to K Chandrasekhar Rao, was seen as possessing the right DNA to lead the Congress, which is in a state of limbo after mass desertions to the ruling TRS.
But no, that isn’t happening. RC Khuntia, who continues as AICC incharge of Telangana affairs despite presiding over two successive electoral debacles – in the assembly and then in the Lok Sabha elections – has announced that there will be no change in leadership. Uttam Kumar Reddy will continue to be the TPCC chief.
What happened between Tuesday and Friday? Alarm bells rang among the old guard who were simply not willing to let a newcomer walk away with the top job. Revanth Reddy had joined the Congress from the TDP in 2018. The phone lines were worked and it was ensured the plan to anoint Revanth was nixed.
As anticipated in the Filter Kaapi story on Tuesday, the fact that he is a newcomer was used by veterans like V Hanumantha Rao to question the decision. They should be first in the line, it was argued. Two, his ABVP background during his student days was also used to raise the red flag. Three, his alleged involvement in the cash-for-vote case and proximity to Chandrababu Naidu, too were put forth to the High command.
There was a strong caste angle to the anti-Revanth mission as well. The anti-Reddy lobby within the Telangana Congress – the SC and BC – was not keen to have a Reddy (Revanth) replace a Reddy (Uttam Kumar). Add to that other Reddy rivals to Revanth who threatened to leave the Congress if the latter was made president. The fact that the BJP’s HR policy in Telangana is to woo leaders from across the political spectrum, makes it easier to blackmail the Congress leadership.
Where does this leave the Congress? The very fact that the present crop of Congress leaders can afford to dictate terms to Sonia Gandhi shows how weak the party is. Two, the fact that Khuntia, Uttam Kumar Reddy and Bhatti Vikramarka (CLP leader) were not held responsible for failing to prevent defection by 12/18 Congress MLAs to the TRS, shows there is no accountability in the party any more.
There are undoubtedly both merits and demerits of a decision to promote Revanth Reddy from Working president to President. But what is worse from a Congress point of view is to maintains status quo and go into the municipal polls with old wine in old bottles. The Congress in Telangana today has nothing new to offer. What’s worse is the feeling that once elected, most of the representatives migrate to the TRS, raising questions if it is worth voting for them in the first place.