Revanth Reddy’s Rise

By Sushil Kutty

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi, founded by former Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, transformed to Bharat Rashtra Samithi, a change brought about because KCR wanted a national role for the party and the Prime Minister’s post for himself. KCR proved to be overambitious and BRS couldn’t make the cut in 2023. It lost Telangana to the Congress in the last assembly polls. Lok Sabha 2024 wasn’t any better for the lanky leader.

Now, KCR says no one can dismantle the BRS even as a number of leaders are deserting BRS like the odd wife abandons all pretence and deserts her legally-wedded hubby who frequently goes astray. When KCR mentioned “dismantle”, he was indirectly talking of the Congress Chief Minister of Telangana, A. Revanth Reddy.

And when he spoke of “unwavering confidence” in his party returning to power after losing to Revanth Reddy, he was relying on his own prophecy. For, like all leaders, KCR was pumping up his party cadre who were showing signs of restlessness. Ten years after the formation of Telangana Rashtra Samithi, party morale was at its lowest.

In December 2023, KCR spoke of temporary setbacks and asserted “we will bounce back.” Also, KCR was the first politician to take note of “Congress’ success is due to false promises”, whether that be in the Karnataka Assembly elections or in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha has mastered the art of convincing voters with bundles of promises made off the cuff. Women voters know the pitfalls of falling for slick talk.

The BRS lost the 2023 Telangana Assembly elections last year by a slender margin of 1.8 percent votes. For months thereafter, the future of BRS looked bleak and KCR’s family was caught in the doldrums. KCR’s daughter K Kavitha is in Tihar, giving company to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Satyender Jain. Father KCR is at his wits end as Kavitha stares at the blank Tihar walls.

Nobody can talk of the future of the BRS better than KCR and he says BRS has a great future. In fact, ask KCR and he says “the future belongs to BRS”. K Chandrasekhar Rao goes to the extent of predicting a “bright future”. KCR says BRS will return to power in Telangana, and “stay in power for 15 years”. KCR has all of a sudden become very active, addressing meetings here, there and meeting party leaders everywhere.

Chandrashekar Rao has reasons to hope for a bright future. The party is in the rut and things can only get better. The BRS Chief is being challenged. The morale in the party has to be revived. Party leaders and party cadre haven’t as yet reconciled to the defeat at the hands of the Congress in 2023. The Assembly election defeat, the Lok Sabha polls humiliation and now party MLAs joining the Congress in droves.

KCR is creating a new set of leaders in the BRS. And he reminisces of the good old days. He dreams of the party growing stronger all over again. He is raising issues that concern the people and he is asking why the same officers who worked in his regime are now unable to resolve the state’s power and drinking water supply problems? Why is the Revanth Reddy regime unable to stop the “crime wave”? KCR says Revanth’s Congress government is “inefficient”.

“The Congress has a habit. It has a revolting behaviour. The Revanth Reddy government will fall on its own. We saw this after the TD lost power in unified AP, and Congress came to power. We should not dwell on those who left the party after enjoying power for a long time in the BRS. We should be patient, and we will come back to power,” he said.

But patience doesn’t pay when there are those who are impatient. In the latest, six BRS members of the legislative council deserted and crossed over to the Congress with Revanth Reddy himself receiving the BRS turncoats into the grand old party. What can the BRS Chief do, except wring hands?

The 40-member Telangana Legislative Council has 25 BRS members, four Congress MLCs, four nominated MLCs, two AIMIM members and one each of the BJP, PRTU, and one independent MLC. Two seats are vacant. But with the six BRS MLCs shifting allegiance, the Congress number has gone up to 10. Apparently, Chief Minister Revanth Reddy is all set for a cabinet expansion.

Revanth Reddy is feeling threatened in the Congress and he is resorting to strengthening himself within the party by luring BRS leaders to join the Congress. Latest BRS recruits to the Congress include Rajya Sabha MP K Kesava Rao, making him the seventh leader from the KCR-led party to join the Congress. Fact is, Revanth Reddy is strengthening himself by weakening KCR.

Revanth Reddy’s rise in the Congress is resented by many Congress leaders of bygone vintage. Revanth, who holds the dual posts of Chief Minister and state unit chief, is set to give up the post of state unit chief and he wants to have a say in who replaces him. Revanth joined the Congress in 2017 and within a matter of just six years he was the TPCC Chief, sidelining heavyweights in the party who have been in leadership roles in the Congress from long ago.

The irony is KCR is paying for Revanth Reddy’s rise and the fall of those old heavyweights. KCR and BRS will have to think out of the box to regain previous glory. For now, KCR can only give pep talks and hold up cadre morale. Established BRS leaders cannot be trusted. (IPA