As protest against TSPSC paper leak cancelled, Telangana Congress fissures resurface

The protest was cancelled as Revanth Reddy announced the dates unilaterally without discussing the proposal with any other leader.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Apr 20, 2023 | 4:07 PMUpdatedApr 20, 2023 | 4:50 PM

Revanth Reddy protests

The Telangana Congress is always on a wing and a prayer in its efforts to succeed in electoral politics.

As soon as TPCC president A Revanth Reddy announced the dates for the protests against the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) question paper leak case, seniors in the party shot down the proposal.

In less than one day, the first protest scheduled to be held in Nalgonda on Friday, 21 April, stood cancelled.

The charge against Revanth Reddy was that he announced the dates for the protests without discussing them with any other leader.

For instance, MP Uttam Kumar Reddy, in whose Nalgonda constituency the first protest was scheduled, was not consulted.

Also read: Khammam clearly in focus; Congress, BJP vie to lure Srinivasa Reddy

Uttam Reddy expresses displeasure

Uttam Kumar Reddy did not hide his displeasure over the “unilateral” decision taken by Revanth Reddy when he said with vinegar in his voice: “I came to know about the protests only through the media. No one consulted me. I do not know anything about the protest in Nalgonda.”

On top of this, the former state Congress president seemed to have lodged a protest with the party’s Telangana in-charge Manikrao Thakre on the “shady goings-on” in the party.

Ever since Revanth made a lateral entry into the party in 2020 and became the state president last year, internal opposition to him has been growing.

The seniors, who considered themselves true-blue Congress leaders, look at Revanth Reddy as a Telugu Desam leader in the Congress’ clothing.

This is a prickly issue because, in Telangana, the name Telugu Desam does not evoke any positive response because of its supremo N Chandrababu Naiud’s opposition to the creation of the state.

It is also often said that Revanth made his way into the party on Naidu’s advice as the TDP has lost its relevance in Telangana under continuous pounding from current Chief Minister and BRS president K Chandrashekar Rao.

He is still viewed by the old guard as Nadiu’s man in the Congress.

Also read: No alliance with BRS; Congress will bag 80 seats: Revanth Reddy

Issues during PCC reconstitution

In fact, the rebellion against Revanth Reddy developed into a full-blown crisis at the time of the reconstitution of the PCC last year, with most of the old guard openly taking up cudgels against him “in the interest of the party”.

Though the mess has been swept under the rug by the party leadership, the bottled-up tempers often find outlets in spasmodic bouts.

The latest incident of AICC Programmes Implementation Committee chairman Alleti Maheshwar Reddy bidding goodbye to the party and joining the BJP is being seen as an indication of the resentment brewing against Revanth Reddy.

When AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge visited Mancherial recently to attend a public meeting organised as part of CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikrmarka’s padayatra, Bhongir MP Komatireddy Venkata Reddy — who has been a thorn in Revanth Reddy’s flesh — said the next Congress chief minister should be a Dalit.

He was indicating his preference for Bhatti Vikramarka.

The significance of the MP’s comment — made in the presence of Kharge, himself a Dalit leader — was not lost on those who attended the rally.

It is a no-brainer that his comments were not out of any sudden gush of affection for Bhatti Vikramarka but only to queer the pitch for Revanth Reddy, who is nursing ambitions to become the next chief minister.

Also read: Amidst internal squabbles, BRS seeks to get battle-ready

‘Open for all castes’

His comments riled up Revanth Reddy’s camp and the consequence was Telangana in-charge Manikrao Thakre having to put his foot firmly down and say that there was no such concept as a “Dait chief minister” in the Congress, and that the position was open for leaders of all castes.

The seniors of the party are seething inwardly that Revanth’s faction is making them believe that Rahul Gandhi approved the list of places where the protests are to be held.

It is being said that during his recent stop at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad en route to Karnataka, Rahul Gandhi approved the list and the location of a major rally in the first week of May — which Priyanka Gandhi is expected to address.

The seniors doubt the veracity of the talk of approval by Rahul Gandhi, but they are playing along for now, content with foiling Revanth’s first protest in Nalgonda.

New protest dates announced

Meanwhile, Revanth Reddy, after consultation with Manikrao Thakre, announced on Friday fresh dates for the protests to be organised across the state to call the state government to account for the leak of TSPSC question papers.

The first protest rally will be held in Khammam on 24 April, followed by Adilabad (26 April), Nalgonda (28 April), Mahabubnagar (30 April), and Rangareddy (1 May).

TPCC working president B Mahesh Kumar Goud, in a statement on Thursday, said that all senior leaders — including CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka, MPs N Uttam Kumar Reddy and Komatireddy Venkatareddy, and MLC Jeevan Reddy — would attend these protest rallies.