Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday described late leader Jaipal Reddy as a treasure of “wisdom and knowledge” and said that he always stood for “righteousness” and always opposed anything which he felt was unjust or wrong.
Speaking at a memorial meeting here for Reddy who passed away on July 28, the former Prime Minister said, “I am truly overwhelmed with various feelings as we gather here to pay homage to the memory of my dear friend, colleague and a mass leader Jaipal Reddyji.”
He said he was saddened to think that his dear friend Reddy was not among us at this time of great difficulty.
“Jaipal Reddyji was a treasure of wisdom and knowledge. He was my colleague in my Cabinet for 10 years and a lawmaker for 45 years,” Singh adding, “In his death, it would be no exaggeration to say that Indian politics has lost a brilliant parliamentarian, who packed his speeches with wit, criticism and in-depth information.”
The former Prime Minister said that although Reddy was a professional politician he proved to be an intellectual as well. He said, “A politician with a difference, he was an eloquent orator, a writer, a scholar and a witty speaker. He described himself as a proud Nehruvian socialist.”
Recalling the journey of Reddy, Singh said that he started as a student activist, rose to become president of the Indian Youth Congress from Andhra Pradesh, and then plunged into national politics braving polio among a host of other challenges.
“He went on to survive in the national arena for over four decades. He won four Assembly polls, five Lok Sabha elections, two Rajya Sabha terms and served in the Cabinet of four Union governments. And he bid farewell as a spotless leader who never faced any charge of corruption or impropriety,” Singh said.
“In a political career spanning over 50 years Jaipal Reddyji always stood for righteousness and always opposed anything which he felt injustice or wrong,” he said.
The former Prime Minister said that Reddy was always known for standing by his principles and his ideology.
“He was somebody that people looked up to, both in the public and also within the Congress leadership, and he never minced words in expressing his opinion. As we all know, Jaipalji was also a very articulate parliamentarian, who always stuck by whatever decisions he took as a minister whether it pleased somebody or not, he always went according to his beliefs,” Singh said.
Singh said, “He was a staunch supporter of statehood for Telangana and he played a silent yet crucial role in convincing the leaders towards taking the historic decision of dividing Andhra Pradesh and granting separate statehood for Telangana in 2014.”
The former Prime Minister said that it was Reddy’s farsightedness which was instrumental in bringing forth the Prasar Bharati Bill. “As Minister of Information and Broadcasting, he piloted the Prasar Bharati Bill to give autonomy to Doordarshan and All India Radio,” he recalled.