Revanth Reddy's extensive journey in opposition politics reached its culmination on Thursday as the Telangana Congress President arrived at Hyderabad's 30,000-seat capacity LB Stadium to be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the still-young state. Reddy, who unseated the decade-long KCR-led BRS government in the southern state, made a grand entrance in an open-top jeep, acknowledging the cheers of an enthusiastic and supportive crowd. In contrast to the formal attire of a white shirt and black trousers worn by Revanth, another notable figure accompanied him during his entrance into the stadium.
As Revanth Reddy rode on a heavily-garlanded open-top vehicle, carefully navigating through a sea of supporters chanting his name, CPP chairperson Sonia Gandhi stood beside him. Affectionately referred to as 'Sonia Amma' in the youngest Indian state for her pivotal role in spearheading its formation a decade ago, she added another layer of significance to the historic moment.
Significance of having Sonia Gandhi standing with Revanth
Standing alongside Sonia Gandhi serves a dual purpose for Revanth Reddy. Firstly, it underscores the influential backing of the Gandhi family matriarch in his ascent to the top political position in Telangana after just six years in the party. Despite being a natural choice for Chief Minister, Reddy faced competition from Uttam Kumar Reddy and Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, both seasoned Congress veterans integral to the recent successful campaign. While some initial dissatisfaction over Reddy's appointment has been alleviated by appointing one as Deputy Chief Minister and the other as a minister, Sonia Gandhi's visible support further fortifies the new Chief Minister's position.
Secondly, standing with Sonia Gandhi enhances Reddy's popularity, particularly among the millions of Telangana residents who admire Sonia Gandhi, if not the Congress itself. Although already widely popular, the additional support can only enhance his favorability.
Sonia Gandhi and birth of Telangana
Telangana emerged in 2014 amid internal strife within the ruling Congress, and Gandhi is widely acknowledged for her pivotal role in facilitating the passage of the bill that led to the state's establishment. This involved seeking support from her fierce rival, the BJP's Venkaiah Naidu, and taking disciplinary action against six of her MPs who attempted to obstruct the bill in the Lok Sabha by issuing no-confidence motions.
The Congress consistently highlights Gandhi's contribution to Telangana voters, going so far as to request the inclusion of a chapter on this subject in school syllabuses in 2020. Gandhi herself invoked this sentiment leading up to the election, expressing in a video message 48 hours before voting, "I, along with my colleagues, had the opportunity to be part of the birth of this great state... It is my dream to see a Congress government in Telangana... Will you give us your support?"
The response, as it unfolded, was affirmative. Following the Sunday vote count, the Congress secured a comfortable victory, claiming 64 out of 119 seats to displace the BRS government that had governed since the state's inception in 2014. Despite the Congress's initial division during Telangana's formation, it failed to capitalize on its role in its inception to win the inaugural election. Now, nine years later, it finally assumes control, marking its presence as the governing force in a second South Indian state.