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Telangana assembly polls 2018: Only Rahul Gandhi can unite the Opposition, says Congress leader Revanth Reddy

He has received requests from at least 100 candidates to campaign in their constituencies in Telangana, thanks to his oratorial skills. Anumula Revanth Reddy, the firebrand Congress working president in the state, draws huge crowds to his public meetings across Telangana, where has emerged as the party’s star campaigner. Political analysts say he is a man to watch in Telangana politics.

In an interview to Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, the 49-year-old Revanth Reddy, a former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activist and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator, says chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) behaves like the owner and not custodian of Telangana. He is confident that the Congress will oust the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in December 7 state elections. Excerpts:

You came to the Congress from the TDP and now the two rival parties have joined hands in Telangana. Why did you opt for the Congress?

Perception is reality and reality is politics. It is a perception that TDP was formed on an anti-Congress plank. The situation demanded so. In fact, the two parties have done business in the past as well. The situation in the country is such that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and KCR are siblings in attitude, approach, decision-making and their mindset is dictatorial too. It is very unfortunate and dangerous to democracy. Our country is the largest democracy in the world. Modi and KCR both are a threat to democracy. On the other hand, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the leader of the Opposition trying to do his best for all sections of the society and for the nation. He is not biased or power-hungry. And since we are more or less of the same age and our mindset is similar, I joined the Congress. I also wanted to take KCR head-on and for that the best platform is Congress, which gave Telangana and respected the sentiments of the people.

Also Read: Telangana assembly elections 2018: An emotional Sonia Gandhi vows to teach TRS a ‘fitting lesson’

Critics call the TDP-Congress alliance unholy. Do you think it is good for Telangana?

Definitely. I took the initiative for this alliance. I wanted to join hands with Rahulji and (TDP chief) Chandrababu Naidu in the national interest. I have not commented against TDP and Naiduji and am trying to ensure the alliance succeeds.

Are you confident that Congress will upset TRS calculations?

There are only two players in Telangana. One is KCR and his friends BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). The other platform is headed by Congress and this time there is no division or confusion among the voters. I am confident that we will win the elections.

What are your key campaign talking points?

The basis of the Telangana movement was self-rule, self -respect, social justice and fair share of representation of all sections of the society. None of these exist in the KCR rule. Only one person and one family are ruling the state. Key portfolios are held by the KCR family members and his relatives are heading all the key departments. Telangana has been at the centre of many revolutions and movements and hence people keep a close eye on the top leadership.

KCR thinks Telangana is his fiefdom with him as the king and his son the prince. He is arrogant and for the last 52 months, he came to the secretariat only 5-6 times. In the last three years, he has not gone there. KCR is behaving as the owner of the state. He is not accessible to even his cabinet colleagues, leave aside the people. Most of the time he stays in his farm house. He forgets that he is not the owner but a custodian of the state.

But you have worked with him also.

That time, we ignored some of his weaknesses simply because of the Telangana movement. We were not in politics then but mentally, emotionally and ideologically associated with the movement only and such things did not cross our minds.

You called MIM a friendly party of TRS but the same MIM was also a part of the Congress-led UPA. So, it is fine when you are with Congress but an enemy when you join a rival camp.

There is no straight alliance in Telangana but strategic. MIM is supporting TRS, which is sailing with the BJP. KCR supported BJP on all crucial issues such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation besides presidential, vice-president and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman elections. Asaduddin Owaisi is asking Muslims to vote for TRS. When KCR is sailing with Modi, why is Owaisi supporting TRS? People have to think about it.

Is Congress united in Telangana?

There might be different opinions but the ultimate goal and destination is one.

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First Published: Nov 26, 2018 08:01 IST

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