Anumula Revanth Reddy, chief of Telangana Congress who played a key role in the party's thumping victory in the November 30 Assembly polls, was today sworn in as the state's second Chief Minister.
Mr Reddy was administered the oath of office by Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan at a ceremony at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium in Hyderabad before a crowd of nearly 1 lakh.
Besides Mr Reddy, 11 members of his cabinet took the oath of office. This included Mallu Bhatti Vikaramarka, who was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, and former Telangana Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, among those who opposed Revanth Reddy's choice as Chief Minister. The eight others to join the cabinet are Sridhar Babu, Ponnam Prabhakar, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, Damodar Rajanarasimha, Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, Dana Anasuya, Tummala Nageswar Rao, Konda Surekha and Jupally Krishna Rao.
The ceremony was attended by the Gandhi family - Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra -, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr Reddy on the occasion, assuring his full support to Telangana's progress.
Before he took the oath of office, Mr Reddy and Mrs Gandhi held a victory lap inside the stadium in an open vehicle.
The Congress trounced the K Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi, ruling Telangana since its formation in 2014, by winning 65 out of 119 Assembly seats.
Revanth Reddy, referred to as Tiger Revanth by his supporters, has been credited to have played a major role in the Congress's victory. A former TDP leader, Mr Reddy switched to the Congress in 2017. He was appointed Telangana Congress president in 2021.
Over the past two years, Mr Reddy led a spirited campaign against the KCR-led government and was seen leading street protests and public demonstrations over a host of issues. The Congress's efforts bore fruit and the party trumped the BRS.
Mr Reddy, however, had a challenge waiting for him. Soon after the victory, his detractors within the party opposed his elevation as Chief Minister. They pointed to corruption allegations against him and alleged that he had taken money in exchange for poll tickets.
Mr Reddy had fought hard to get his loyalists tickets, knowing well that he would not get the Chief Minister post if he did not have the support of a big chunk of MLAs. This worked well for him and the Congress leadership, in no mood to upset the apple cart, endorsed Mr Reddy's claim to the top post.
Now in the Chief Minister seat, Mr Reddy faces the tall challenge of fulfilling the Congress's poll guarantees and preparing the ground for the Lok Sabha elections due in six months.