September 4, 2009 1:28:25 am
The man who was content playing second fiddle to his younger friend Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was on Thursday sworn in as the new Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in his place. The seniormost Congress leader in the state,part of successive party governments since 1979,Andhra Finance Minister Konijeti Rosaiah,77,will hold charge till the party has decided on a successor for YSR.
The Finance Minister in YSRs first term too,Rosaiah holds the record for presenting 15 budgets in Congress regimes and is like the Andhra units Pranab Mukherjee a constant,stable and able presence who has kept a low profile and stayed away from controversies in a political career spanning more than 50 years.
He refused to contest the 2009 Assembly elections and was nominated to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council instead. When YSR again allotted the Finance portfolio to him after the May 2009 victory,Rosaiah joked he was happy with Finance and with letting YSR handle the headaches of the top post. With YSR he presented three budgets,including one vote-on-account budget six months before the elections.
Belonging to Vemuru in Guntur district,Rosaiah belongs to the trader community and began as a student leader. In 1979,he first became a minister,and was given the Roads and Buildings portfolio by Marri Channa Reddy. Rosaiah went on to hold various portfolios in the Cabinets of Tanguturi Anjaiah,K Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy and N Janardhana Reddy. From 1995 to 1997,he was the president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee. In 1998,he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Narsaraopeta.
He is known for his administrative skills and deep knowledge about party matters. During his vote-on-account speech,he quoted Paul Krugman,saying that it is because of his prescription in times of the slowdown that the government had allocated much more to irrigation and housing for the poor.
In his budget speech,he noted that from the time Andhra was formed (in 1956) till now,it had gone from being the worst state as far as economic indices go,to become the countrys fastest growing. He said he was thrilled at YSR having secured Telugu the status of a classical language.
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