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Cong’s Telangana face Revanth Reddy takes centre stage amid street theatre, waiting crowd | Political Pulse News

Beside a flyover at Balanagar in suburban Hyderabad in Telangana, the crowd waits for Revanth Reddy through three long evening hours of peaking traffic. The message is clear: State Congress chief, who is also the party’s campaign face for the upcoming Assembly polls, can afford to keep you waiting.

The wait itself is a show of regained strength and it is far from dull. You are kept in a state of mild suspense. Even the event’s host Kukatpally’s candidate Bandi Ramesh, a recent convert to the Congress from the BRS, is not clear on when the guest will show up or what shape the event will take. Is it a hand-waving roadshow or a short wayside stop or a hybrid of the two? For anything bigger like a full-fledged public meeting, there is not any floor space around.

revanth reddy telangana assembly elections 2023 Revanth Reddy at the Balanagar rally. (Sketch by E P Unny)

Between a 1960s vintage 70 mm movie hall and a newer but half abandoned shopping complex, home-bound commuters are surging into the lanes and alleys. The cinema is still running like the grand old party, which on its part has to find more custom than the shuttered shops, says an organiser. And he is sure Revanth bhai is the “game changer who will make that happen”.

But first the game changer has to manifest.

Meanwhile, much festivity is on. Everything looks impromptu and yet well-rehearsed. The evening extends like an endless flash mob. This could be the new way of doing elections in urbanising, space-crunching India. Where you don’t have the sprawling maidan to commandeer a mammoth crowd, let people crowd into the nooks and corners of overbuilt neighbourhoods and stay, entertained with street theatre.

cpi rally revanth reddy Visuals from the CPI rally. (Illustration by E P Unny)

The makeshift stage on a station wagon keeps shifting across the road for added effect. Song, dance, spoofs and mime, not to speak of some good old sloganeering from the CPI ally. A dozen comrades are strikingly visible donning Congress tricolour accessories and clutching the red flag. Stadium scale lighting is getting installed, hinting that the evening will stretch into sundown. A huge garland too heavy for human hands is being craned into position to symbolically honour the awaited leader.

Festive offer

It is then that you get to know where exactly Revanth will stop to speak. The exact spot from where rival KT Rama Rao or KTR of the BRS spoke a couple of days back, whispers a self-proclaimed Revanth confidant. Herein lies the crux of the campaign. The 54-year-old Revanth is pitched against the 47-year-old BRS scion KTR, whose father, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao or KCR, is being taken on by the Congress’s Delhi contingent – party chief Mallikarjun Kharge with help from what its war room calls the “RGPG (Rahul Gandhi Priyanka Gandhi) effect”.

When Revanth finally turns up piloted by a speeding, honking flag-waving array of bikers, the advent is almost chief ministerial. Police presence is overwhelming. Cyberabad traffic cops from the hi-tech quarter of the city have been manning the area since noon in ever increasing numbers as time wore on. With barely a week left to decide the fate of their political masters, they are at their polite best. Doubly so at this Opposition event.

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