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Suspense continues over Telangana CM as AICC takes its time for consultation on the team

Congress leaders D. K. Shivakumar and Manikrao Thakre speak with the media after the Congress Legislature Party meeting in Hyderabad on Monday.

Congress leaders D. K. Shivakumar and Manikrao Thakre speak with the media after the Congress Legislature Party meeting in Hyderabad on Monday.
| Photo Credit: RAO GN

Keeping the entire State on edge and also the millions of Congress voters, the Congress high command is yet to take a decision on finalising the Legislature Party leader of the Telangana Congress that romped home with a comfortable majority.

Though the name of TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy was on everyone’s mind and is considered the natural choice, the party high command has still not decided after the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Monday morning authorised AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge to take a final decision on their behalf.

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AICC observer and Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar and other observers held hectic parleys with the Chief Ministerial aspirants and the MLAs to finalise the name of the majority choice. The individual opinion of the MLAs was also taken and a report was sent to the party high command for clearance.

Initially, it was rumoured that the decision would come by evening and the swearing-in-ceremony would be held at Raj Bhavan in the night. But later in the evening, the party high command asked Mr. Shivakumar and other observers to reach New Delhi for further consultations. Now the ball is in the AICC headquarters and the decision might come on Tuesday or Wednesday.

A senior functionary of the Congress in New Delhi told The Hindu that this is the normal practice in the Congress. The AICC observers send a report to the high command and they in turn ask them to brief on various issues concerned with it. It is not just the selection of the Chief Minister but also his team and whether there should be any Deputy Chief Minister as well.

So there is nothing much to read in the delay in announcement, he said recalling the Karnataka example. “They have already authorised the AICC president and he will take a call after consulting other senior functionaries including Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

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Differences of opinion

As PCC president Mr. Revanth Reddy threw his hat into the ring but there were also other aspirants like CLP leader in the dissolved Assembly Bhatti Vikramarka and former PCC chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, both party loyalists. Mr Bhatti contended that he strengthened the Congress with his padayatra from Adilabad to Khammam and was a senior and the party should consider his services.

Mr. Uttam Kumar Reddy apparently argued that he had won his 7th straight win in Telangana, including as a Parliament member. He had also ensured that except one all the other seats in his Parliamentary constituency were won by the Congress indicating his popularity.

Sources, however, said that Mr Revanth Reddy claimed he had the support of maximum MLAs and he had rejuvenated the party when it was battered by the BRS through defeats and defections. He is confident given his equations with Rahul Gandhi. The AICC observers report included these opinions apart from the individual opinion of each MLA over their leader.

One line resolution

Earlier in the morning, TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy moved a one-line resolution in the CLP meeting authorising AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge to choose the CLP leader.

The resolution was seconded by Mr. Uttam Kumar Reddy, Bhatti Vikramarka, Komatireddy Venkata Reddy, Damodar Rajnarsimha, Seethakka, Tummala Nageshwar Rao, Ponnam Prabhakar, D. Sreedhar Babu, Prem Sagar Rao, Balu Naik and Konda Surekha, among others.

Mr. Shivakumar further said the CLP thanked the Telangana voters and also Congress president Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi apart from all the Congress leaders from across the country for campaigning and guiding the party.

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