Hyderabad, Dec 7 (IANS): Anumula Revanth Reddy, who on Thursday assumed office as Telangana Chief Minister and Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, who took over as Deputy Chief Minister, never held any administrative post before this.
For Revanth Reddy, it was a dream come true when he took oath as the second Chief Minister of Telangana.
As he led the party’s election campaign from the front and played a key role in giving the Congress the first electoral victory in India’s youngest state, the central leadership rewarded him with the state's top post.
The 54-year-old led the party’s dramatic turnaround while the party was in complete disarray until a few months ago due to a series of electoral reverses, defections and infighting.
A dynamic and ambitious leader, Revanth Reddy’s political journey started only 17 years ago as a local body representative in a remote village in Mahabubnagar district. Born in an agricultural family in Kongareddypalli in the present Nagarkurnool district on November 8, 1969, he studied at a polytechnic in Wanaparthy and Bachelor of Arts from a college in Hyderabad.
A first-generation politician from the family, he started his political career with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now BRS) in 2002 but quit the party after a couple of years as he did not get the recognition in the party. In 2006, he contested as an independent for the post of member of Zilla Parishad Territorial Committee (ZTPC) in Midjil mandal and was successful in his very first attempt in electoral politics but his aim was higher.
Always aiming for higher goals, he contested elections for the Legislative Council of the united Andhra Pradesh from local bodies’ constituency in Mahabubnagar district in 2007 and defeated the candidate of ruling Congress by 100 votes. This victory catapulted him to state-level politics and in 2008 he joined the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which was in opposition.
In 2009, he entered the fray in Assembly elections and was elected from Kodangal, defeating senior Congress leader Gurunadh Reddy by 6,989 votes.
With good oratory skills and aggressive approach, he attracted the attention of all. When the Telangana agitation was at its peak, he remained with the TDP and was considered close to party President and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
He was elected to the first Telangana Assembly from Kodangal in 2014. He retained the seat with a bigger margin of 14,614 votes against the TRS candidate.
As the TDP’s Telangana Working President and TDP floor leader in Assembly, he took on the ruling TRS both in the Assembly and outside.
In 2015, Revanth Reddy was caught by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) while allegedly trying to buy the vote of nominated MLA Stephenson in favour of the TDP candidate Vem Narender Reddy in the MLC elections.
He was sent to jail in the bribery case, seen as the biggest black mark of his political career. He was granted a 12-hour bail to attend the wedding of his only daughter Nymisha.
After his release on bail, Revanth Reddy maintained a low profile for a couple of years. In October 2017, he resigned as MLA, quit the TDP, and joined the Congress. He built a strong network within the Congress and soon moved closer to the top leadership. He was rewarded with the post of the Working President of the TPCC. During the 2018 poll campaign, he called himself the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate.
Not only the Congress failed to capture power but Revanth Reddy too suffered defeat from Kodangal. The party leadership still believed in him and fielded him from Malkajgiri Lok Sabha seat in 2019. He bounced back by winning the seat.
In 2021, the Congress leadership picked Revanth Reddy to lead the party in Telangana. Some seniors were shocked as he was seen as an outsider in the party. However, the victory of Congress in Karnataka infused new energy in the party.
Within six months, the party became the main challenge to the BRS, pushing back the BJP to third place. Leading the party from the front, he campaigned not just in his home constituency Kodangal and Kamareddy, where he challenged KCR, but addressed 55 election rallies across the state.
He also played an active role in reaching out to disgruntled leaders of the BRS and the BJP to invite them to join the Congress.
Interestingly, Revanth Reddy never held a ministerial position or even worked in a ruling party.
The same is true for Vikramarka, who took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister. A Dalit, he comes from the family of Congress loyalists. A prominent face of the party, he was leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the previous Assembly. In the just-concluded Assembly elections, he was elected from Madhira (SC) seat in Khammam district for the fourth term.
Starting his political career as an ordinary Congress worker, the 63-year-old has been one of the senior and loyal leaders of the party. He was the government chief whip from 2009 to 2011 in the united Andhra Pradesh Assembly.
A post-graduate in history from University of Hyderabad, he also served as Deputy Speaker of Andhra Pradesh Assembly.
Vikramarka, who was director of Andhra Bank till 2000, later entered active politics. In 2007, he was elected to Legislative Council from local bodies’ constituency and two years later he created a record by wresting Madhira seat from the CPI to enter the Assembly. He has never lost an election.