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Who Is Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, Congress' First Deputy CM in Telangana?

Senior Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramaraka's People's March helped build the party's campaign.

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After days of discussions and deliberations, Telangana's new Chief Minister Revanth Reddy was sworn in on Thursday, 7 December. And his Deputy is someone who had hoped to be the chief minister himself – Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka. 

Senior leader Bhatti Vikramarka's appointment as Deputy CM is nevertheless important, as he is a prominent Dalit leader in the Congress party.

But as political pundits point out, a Dalit chief minister would have fit the Congress' 'maarpu' (change) narrative – as Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao had promised a Dalit CM way back in 2014, only to go back on his word twice.

In an interview with The Hindu before the Assembly elections, Bhatti Vikramarka had said:

"For the post of Chief Minister, the Congress party has many capable leaders to lead the state and head governance. And it is an asset to the Congress party and also the state. I am also one among them … I am among the aspirants of CLP leader."

These aspirations aside, Bhatti Vikramarka was seen sharing the stage with Revanth Reddy, keeping his loyalty to the party, his charisma, and his compassion to the people – traits that he is well known for – above all.

Senior Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramaraka's People's March helped build the party's campaign.

Telangana CM and Deputy CM.

(Photo: X)

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Who Is Bhatti Vikramarka?

Bhatti Vikramarka, who won by a margin of over 35,000 votes in the Madhira constituency in the 2023 elections against BRS' Kamal Raju Lingala, is a four-time MLA – and a Congressman through and through. 

A close confidant of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, he was the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader during KCR's second term. The 62-year-leader, who has been in the party since the 1990s, is one of the prominent Dalit faces of Telangana Congress.

The India Today-Axis My India exit poll estimated that 21 percent of voters wanted Revanth Reddy to be the chief minister. But about 22 percent of voters preferred any Congress candidate as CM – and one of the most preferred on this list was Bhatti Vikramarka. 
Senior Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramaraka's People's March helped build the party's campaign.

Revanth Reddy and Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka at the Telangana Secretariat after taking charge.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Born to Mallu Akanda and Mallu Manikyam in Wyra of Khammam district, Bhatti Vikramarka graduated from Nizam College in Hyderabad and did his Master's from the University of Hyderabad. Bhatti Vikramarka has two brothers – R Mallu and Mallu Ravi, who is a former MP.

He was elected as the Madhira MLA in the united Andhra Pradesh government in 2009. In two years, he rose to the position of the Deputy Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

He then won as an MLA in 2014 and 2018, becoming the second person to score a hat-trick from the Madhira segment. In 2019, he was appointed the leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP).

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Bhatti Vikramarka, however, was forced to steer the Congress at its most vulnerable phase – when 12 MLAs from the party switched to the BRS (then Telangana Rashtra Samithi) in 2019, bringing down the Congress' MLA tally in the Assembly from 18 to six.

Bhatti Vikramarka's People's March

Even as praises are being showered on Revanth Reddy for bringing the Congress out of its rut in Telangana, Bhatti Vikramarka's efforts in framing the Congress manifesto for the elections shouldn't go unnoticed.

Bhatti Vikramarka's 100-day 'People's March' – a 1,400-km-long padayatra across the state – from March to June this year was an extension of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. It covered nearly 36 Assembly constituencies. 

It was during this padayatra that he interacted with farmers, Dalits, tribals, unemployed youth, and women – and his insights contributed heavily to the six guarantees that the Congress had presented to the people of Telangana. 

"My People's March [padayatra] in March helped immensely in understanding the pulse of the people and their requirements. As part of our Rythu Bharosa [an investment support scheme for farmers], we will provide Rs 15,000 per acre to all farmers, including tenant farmers [a group previously excluded by the BRS]," he had said in an interview with Frontline.

(Editor's note: This story erroneously claimed Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka is the first Dalit Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana. He was preceded by T Rajaiah and Kadiyam Srihari in the KCR Cabinet. The error is deeply regretted.)

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