National

For Kiran Kumar Reddy, it’s last ball, no run

M SOMASEKHAR Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on February 19, 2014

Quintessential Congressman: File photo of N Kiran Kumar Reddy

A packed innings awaits the cricketer-turned-politician

The passage of the Telangana Bill by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday turned out to be the googly that bowled out CM Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy.

The 53-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, who often compared the suspense of playing the bifurcation game to the last ball and exuded confidence of stalling it, could not produce the winning stroke. However, true to his word, he quit lock, stock and barrel — not only as CM but also as a Congress party member.

In his impressive cricketing career also he narrowly missed making Test grade. But, to his credit, the soft-spoken ‘quintessential’ Congressman weathered several storms in undoubtedly the most testing political phase of Andhra Pradesh. The State’s 16{+t}{+h} CM, and among its youngest, Reddy served three years and nearly three months.

If Reddy’s selection as CM in November 2010 by Sonia Gandhi took the Congress leadership in AP by surprise, his staunch opposition to, and open revolt against, her commitment to Telangana shocked the high command.

In the annals of Indian history, he will be known as the first Congress CM to stage a dharna at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi opposing the high command. He will also be recognised as the last CM of a united Andhra Pradesh — a recognition he surely did not want. Known among friends and political circles as one who keeps things close to his chest, Reddy practised this in his fight against the bifurcation moves of his own party.

This often led to doubts on whether he is really opposing the bifurcation or playing the script of 10 Janpath, as alleged by Opposition parties and critics within his own.

The same suspense continues on whether he will float a new party, especially after he strived hard to project himself as the foremost integrationist in Seemandhra.

As Chief Whip, as the Speaker who handled the en masse resignations of Seemandhra MLAs, facing the challenges of the Telangana movement, tackling a difficult economic situation, overcoming no-trust moves with the help of Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party, controlling pro- and anti-bifurcation agitations — he managed them all.

All-rounder

The four-time legislator from Pileru in Chittoor district enjoyed the right political lineage, as his late father, N Amarnath Reddy, was a Union Minister and close to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

He launched many schemes like Amma Hastham (subsidised food hampers for poor), Bangaru Thalli for girl child to counter YSR’s populism, and won accolades as the CM of a well-administered State.

“Wait for a couple of days, I will tell you what we will do,” he remarked to his close aides after he quit the grand old party, which his family had served for over five decades.

Published on February 19, 2014
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