Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jaipal Reddy, who passed away in the wee hours of Sunday, was known for his oratorical skills and outspokenness. A veteran parliamentarian who held key portfolios in various governments, Reddy, 77, served as a Lok Sabha MP for five terms, as a member of Rajya Sabha for two terms and was a four-term MLA.
Born on January 16, 1942 in Madgul of Mahabubnagar district of Telangana, Reddy did his masters in English literature and was a student leader in the early 1960s. He was a member of the Andhra Pradesh (undivided) Legislative Assembly from 1969 to 1984. Reddy was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1984 and was a member of the Rajya Sabha for two terms-1990-96 and 1997-98.
Reddy is widely remembered for his contribution towards making Telangana a separate state. Leaders in Congress recall how he played a crucial role in convincing the UPA-II government and the AICC President Sonia Gandhi to grant separate statehood to Telangana.
A parliamentarian for several decades, he held key portfolios in various governments. Initially with Congress, Reddy left the grand old party after then prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed emergency during her tenure. He joined the Janata Party and contested against Gandhi in Medak Lok Sabha constituency in 1980. He later joined its splinter group, Janata Dal. He became the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House in 1991-1992.
Reddy returned to his old party in 1999 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Miryalguda in 2004 and in 2009 from Chevella constituency. In 2014, however, Reddy lost the Lok Sabha polls from Mahabubnagar in 2014 and did not contest the 2019 General elections.
He served as Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the IK Gujral government and was allotted different portfolios in the Manmohan Singh government. In UPA-2, he was assigned the urban development ministry.
Later, he became the minister of petroleum and natural gas, but was shifted to the science and technology and earth sciences ministries, creating a political storm.
While in the government, Reddy donned many hats. His exceptional oratorical skills and articulation made him the spokesperson for the United Front and National Front governments and the Congress Party.
Reddy also authored some books, most prominent of them being “Ten Ideologies: The Great Asymmetry between Agrarianism and Industrialism”.
Reddy was a staunch opposer of political hereditary and never encouraged his family members entering politics. “He was very disciplined and committed. He never encouraged family members entering politics and kept all of us (brothers and sons) away from politics. Our roles used to be confined to only campaigning during elections, but never in active politics,” PTI quoted his brother Sudini Padma Reddy as saying. Reddy’s sons are into various businesses.
(With inputs from PTI)