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Nativity is no issue



N. Janardhana Reddy

The former Chief Minister, Nedurumalli Janardhana Reddy, would have joined the Indian Army or would have become a news reader of All India Radio if not for the timely intervention of his uncle N. Balakrishna Reddy, who goaded him to complete his B.Ed. and become a mathematics teacher at their family education institution in Nellore.

Born in 1935 in a non-descript village, Vakadu, the ambition of becoming a politician lay deep in Mr. Reddy's heart since his Student Congress days in Andhra University. It was only in 1970 that he got the first opportunity to contest election for a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) seat on Congress ticket. Although he was defeated by the then Jan Sangh candidate it was an eye-opener for him, and so far he has not lost any election, be it for the Assembly or for Parliament or be it from his native stronghold or from some constituency outside. In fact, he has got the reputation of winning from unknown and far flung constituencies, like Bapatla and Narsaraopet in 1998 and 1999 respectively. And to continue that tradition he is in Visakhapatnam for the coming elections, pitted against the sitting Telugu Desam Party MP, M.V.V.S. Murthi.

Though much controversy riddles his selection for the constituency, he is confident of wining and says, "Where is the question of nativity for an ex-chief minister? Being a former CM, I am not only well versed with the geo-political situation of the entire State but also with its people."

Once an educationist always and educationist, and he seems to implement this principle in his poll strategy also. "I plan to tour the entire district and exhibit the doctored report card of Chandrababu Naidu and seek my report card from the people and leave the rest to them. I believe in promising and performing and not publicity with no performance. Publicity is not my priority, people's welfare tops my agenda," he says.

Apart from the promise of overall development of the district, implementation of the Polavaram project and education reforms are high on his agenda.

This 69-year-old hardcore Congressman who has been the colleague of Indira Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Channa Reddy, serving as minister in different portfolios, is in for the most decisive stage of his political career, as he feels that the old Congress discipline is waning within the party and that it is heading for a leadership crisis, especially in the State.

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