40L registerations: How Revanth Reddy is rejuvenating Congress in Telangana

The Congress party in the state enrolled 40 lakh members. On November 1, 2021, the party launched a digital membership drive. The party offered Rs 2 lakh insurance cover to each member.

By Sumit Jha  Published on  17 March 2022 7:51 AM GMT
40L registerations: How Revanth Reddy is rejuvenating Congress in Telangana

Hyderabad: It's March 13, a massive crowd has gathered at Kollapur ground in Nagarkurnool district of Telangana. People had come to attend Telangana Congress chief and Malkajgiri MP A Revanth Reddy's 'Mana Ooru Mana Poru' rally.

The state Congress chief lashed out at the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-led government and Modi government for not fulfilling the 2-lakh job promise.

This rally was held after the Congress party in the state enrolled 40 lakh members. On November 1, 2021, the party launched a digital membership drive. The party offered Rs 2 lakh insurance cover to each member.

According to sources, out of 40 lakh registered members, 36 lakh are verified and the remaining four will be verified shortly. "It's a digital membership drive. So from our backend, we are verifying all the details from constituency to booths. After checking all details, we add them to our membership list," said a source.

Congress has asked its cadre to at least enroll 100 members from each booth in the state. "It's an intensive program. Here all the details have to be filed digitally. Later our backend team verifies it. From every booth, around 80-85 percent target has been reached," said the source.

Telangana has 17 parliamentary constituencies. Nalgonda constituency has the highest of 4.3 lakh members. Former TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy represents the Nalgonda constituency. "Nalgonda constituency has the highest registered Congress members in the country," said the source.

The lowest number of members have been enrolled in the Hyderabad constituency. AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi represents the constituency in the Lok Sabha. The party has only enrolled 14,400 members.

"The constituency is Muslim-dominated. It is AIMIM's stronghold. It's hard for our cadres to enroll people in that constituency. AIMIM cadres even do not allow our people to move. We have better enrolment in Secunderabad constituency," said Mahesh Kumar Goud Bomma, TPCC Working president.

The party is expecting to enroll 45-50 lakh members by the end of March. "Every political party enroll snew members. Congress too has also done it. These members help in reaching out to the public. They highlight the issues faced by the people. We will certainly form the next government in the state," said Srravan Dasoju, Spokesperson, Congress.

Revanth Reddy factor

Anumula Revanth Reddy, 52 started his political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student wing of RSS. In 2006, he contested in the local body elections and was elected as Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) member from Midjil Mandal as an independent candidate. In 2007, Revanth Reddy was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) as an independent candidate. Later, he joined the Telugu Desam Party. In 2009 Revanth Reddy was elected to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Kodangal constituency as a TDP candidate.

On 25 October 2017, TDP removed him as the floor leader of the Telangana after reports surfaced that he was considering joining the Congress party. On 31 October 2017, he joined Congress. He contested the 2018 Telangana Assembly elections from Kodangal as a Congress candidate and lost to TRS candidate Patnam Narender Reddy, marking his first defeat in any election.

On 20 September 2018, he was appointed as one of the three working presidents of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC). Revanth Reddy contested in the 2019 general elections and won the Lok Sabha seat of Malkajgiri as a Congress candidate. In June 2021, he was appointed as the president of TPCC replacing Uttam Kumar Reddy.

After Revanth Reddy became president, TPCC has gone into proactive mode. "The cadres have started to highlight issues confronting common people. They are asking people to join Congress. This has happened after Revanth Reddy became TPCC chief," said the source.

Revanth Reddy has brought focus on the corruption of the TRS government. "He is a crowd puller and. K Chandrasekhar Rao government has failed to deliver on its promise of Bangaru Telangana. TPCC is bringing out all these things in public and people are looking towards Congress now," said Mahesh Kumar Goud Bomma.

Mahesh Kumar Goud Bomma noted Congress is the main opposition party in the state. "We will have a direct fight with TRS in the 2023 election. BJP has a base in 15 constituencies. We are spread across all 119 constituencies," said Mahesh Kumar Goud Bomma.

"Revanth Reddy as TPCC president has boosted the morale of the party cadres in the ground, they have started to involve themselves in the party activities in every constituency. Now, the youth are particularly attracted towards the Congress. Being TPCC chief he is a crowd puller," said Srravan Dasoju.

Political analysts believe that his leadership has started to make difference in the party. "After former chief minister of United Andhra Pradesh YSR Rajasekhar Reddy, Congress did not have any strong leader. No leader had the charisma to carry all sections of people together. Congress core voters the 'Reddys' were looking for a strong leader. He communicates directly to the public and these are the reasons why he was selected to lead the party," said CR Gowri Shankar, senior journalist, and political commentator.

Problem with Revanth Reddy

On 31 May 2015, Revanth Reddy was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) after he was caught on camera bribing MLA Elvis Stephenson to vote in favor of the TDP candidate in the Legislative Council election. A criminal case under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against him and two others.

"Corruption charges against him will always come to light. People might dislike him and the Congress party has to pay price for it," said CR Gowri Shankar.

"The leadership of Revanth Reddy was not accepted by many senior Congress leaders of the party. Many dissenters opposed his leadership. Telangana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting witnessed infighting with Sangareddy MLA T Jayapraksh Reddy. He lashed out at Revanth Reddy for ignoring him during the latter's visit to Medak Church and the residence of former Deputy Chief Minister C Damodar Raja Narasimha. Mulugu legislator Dansari Anasuya, who is popularly known as Seethakka, too left the meeting midway. "The problem of Congress is Congress itself. The senior-Junior issue is always there," said CR Gowri Shankar.

Srravan Dasoju said they are going to win the next election. "Internal differences within the party should be sorted out. Unless there is a cohesive environment within the organization, it cannot effectively raise the issue of people. It's very important to resolve the internal conflict and we are working on it," said.

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