Huzurnagar defeat likely to end Uttam Reddy’s innings as Telangana Congress chief

Huzurnagar may well write Uttam Kumar Reddy’s political epitaph for now. Under his leadership as Telangana Congress chief, the Congress could not prevent the TRS from coming to power for a second time in December 2018. Worse, 12 of the 18 MLAs elected crossed over to the ruling party, robbing the Congress of the Leader of the Opposition post in the Telangana assembly. The number of Congress MPs elected in May (three) was less than the number of BJP MPs elected (four), signalling that its political clout in Telangana was on the wane.

The defeat of his wife Padmavathi from Huzurnagar, a seat Uttam won in 2018 but vacated it after he won the Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat, will be a big blow to recover from. That is because Huzurnagar since the constituency was carved out in 2009 has never been won by the TRS. Two, the TRS candidate Saidi Reddy who lost to Uttam Reddy by 7500 votes in December, now bounced back to win by 43000 votes. Three, Uttam ensured the ticket to Padmavathi even though not everyone in the Telangana Congress was happy about it.

Since May 2019, the buzz has been that Uttam Reddy will be replaced as party chief. The problem is that removing him will lead to a bigger headache for the party than retaining him. That’s because there are more than half a dozen contenders for the top job and appointing any one of them will lead to a revolt within the party apparatus. Already when it looked like Revanth Reddy will be appointed as PCC chief, others got together to ensure he was not.

Revanth too has spoilt his chances to an extent. During the election campaign, he reportedly referred to the TDP as the party that gave him political life. The flip side is that this loyalty to the TDP, the party he has left behind, is not amusing his Reddy community that has always backed the Congress party. Given that the community is also looking at whether the BJP in the long run can be a more effective counter to the TRS and the rise of Minister of state for Home, G Kishan Reddy, Revanth will have to play his cards right. 

Then there are others like Komatireddy Venkat Reddy who too fancy their chances to become Telangana chief. The BJP is keeping its doors for all disgruntled elements in the Congress who can add value to the party. 

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