The quintessential nehruvian: Jaipal Reddy
Hyderabad: He has been a trend-setter and the fact that the delimitation exercise has left him without his constituency, Miryalguda, has allowed him to stay off the beaten track yet again. Quite aptly, even though it entailed a shift of districts from Nalgonda to Ranga Reddy, Union Minister for Urban Affairs S Jaipal Reddy will seek election from Chevella, a new constituency created under the very same exercise.
In both his victories from Miryalguda, Jaipal Reddy defeated someone who had been on the same side of the fence till he filed his nomination papers. Vangala Swami Goud crossed floors to Telugu Desam Party in 2004 but received a sound drubbing at the hands of Jaipal Reddy. Rangasai Reddy Yadavalli had faced that fate in 1999.
To be fair, he has been the quintessential Congressman – Nehruvian and secular in his outlook. In fact, he has been most consistent in embracing secular politics, spurning anyone who had links with the rightist BJP. For, in his own words, he regards theocratic fascism (represented by the Sangh Parivar) as very much a long-term aberration.
He has been seen as pro-aam admi, more so in his role as Minister for Urban Development when he urged banks to reduce interest rates for home loans upto Rs 30 lakh and developers to come out of the niche luxury housing segment and focus on affordable housing. His work as Minister for Information and Broadcasting also came in for much praise as he focused on making Doordarshan and All India Radio independent entities.
The daily newspapers have hinted at some discontent in Chevella but you can wager quite safely that Jaipal Reddy will become the first man to represent the constituency in Lok Sabha. He has not gained the reputation of being skilled in winning people over without working for it. The seasoned parliamentarian knows he can do it. Quite comfortably.
He had faced a similar situation in 1999 and 2004 in Miryalguda in Nalgonda district where some questions were raised about his being “an outsider” from Mahboobnagar district. Jaipal Reddy has been a shrewd politician from the time he took to politics all those years ago when he was acquiring a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Osmania University.
Blessed with a rare skill of dignified repartee, the 67-year-old who was fondly branded ‘phrase monger’ has been so graceful in Parliament that the electorate of any constituency would love to have the honour of returning him to the Lok Sabha as its representative. Mahboobnagar has done it. As has Miryalguda. It’s Chevella’s turn now.