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Sansad TV: Our Presidents- Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

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Role in the Indian independence movement

  • Reddy joined the Indian struggle for independence from the British Raj following Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Anantapur in July 1929 and dropped out of college in 1931.
  • He was closely associated with the Youth League and participated in a student satyagraha.
  • In 1938, Reddy was elected Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Provincial Congress Committee, an office he held for ten years.
  • During the Quit India Movement, he was imprisoned and was mostly in jail between 1940 and 1945.
  • Released in March 1942, he was arrested again in August and sent to the Amraoti jail where he served time with activists T Prakasam, S. Satyamurti, K Kamaraj and V V Giri till 1945

Political career:

  • Elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1946 as a Congress representative, Reddy became secretary of the Congress’ legislature party.
  • He was also a Member of the Indian Constituent Assembly from Madras. From April 1949 to April 1951, he was the Minister for Prohibition, Housing and Forests of the Madras State.

Contribution to Constitution Making:

  • Reddy was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Madras Province on a Congress party ticket. He did not make any interventions during the Assembly debates.

 Later Contributions:

  • Reddy was elected as the President of the APCC in 1951 for a year. Soon after, he served as the Chief Minister of the newly formed state of Andhra Pradesh in 1956.
  • During his tenure as the State leader he worked towards the development and modernisation of the State and initiated several irrigation projects such as the construction of Nagarjunasagar, Srisailam, Sriramsagar and Vamsadhara dams.
  • Later, Reddy served as a member of the Rajya Sabha for three terms. In 1964, he joined Lal Bahadur Shastri’s government as the Union Minister for Steel and Mines.
  • He also served as the Minister of Transport, Aviation, Shipping and Tourism in Indira Gandhi’s Government for a short while in 1967.
  • Reddy was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha (1967) and was subsequently elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • He was the first Member of Parliament in the country to have resigned from his political party upon being appointed as Speaker.
  • The first arrest on the grounds of contempt of the House was made during his tenure as the Speaker. He was known for being an unbiased Speaker who facilitated all members to express their opinions. The Committee of the Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was set up during his Speakership.

 President of India

  • Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was elected on 21 July 1977and was sworn in as the sixth President of India on 25 July 1977. Reddy worked with three governments, with Prime Ministers Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi.
  • President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy led seven state visits between 1980 and 1982.
  • He visited USSR, Bulgaria, Kenya, Zambia, UK, Ireland, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Ireland and Yugoslavia.
  • Reddy announced, on the eve of India’s thirtieth anniversary of Independence, that he would be moving out of the Rashtrapati Bhawan to a smaller accommodation and that he would be taking a 70 percent pay cut in solidarity with India’s impoverished masses which shows his high ethical and moral standards.
  • Reddy authored a book titled, ‘Without Fear Or Favour: Reminiscences and Reflections of a President’ detailing his time as the President of India.