THE STATESMAN

An astute politician and social reformer, Dr. Reddy’s contributions to the nation are invaluable. Hailing from a middle class farmer’s family in Telangana and trained in Medical Science at the Osmania University, Dr. Marri Channa Reddy rose to become a towering legend who occupied a focal position in Indian politics. An illustrious son of the state and a fire brand politician, he dominated the political landscape of Andhra Pradesh for over four decades. Throughout his political career was one of the most influential leaders on the Indian political scene.

His tryst with politics took root in 1928 when he along with some other likeminded students in school formed the Andhra Yuvajana Samiti and led the society as its president. He commenced his political career as General Secretary of Andhra Mahasabha (Indian National Congress). At 31, Dr. Reddy became the youngest member of the Indian parliament, a rare feat. As a young politician, his fiery speeches on the problems of Hyderabad attracted the attention of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajaji who were quick to utilize his services as one amongst the four whips of the Congress party. His speeches were so eloquent and penetrating that they were published as major stories in national newspapers. A front page, three column article titled “Blood curdling reports of Dr. Reddy” highlighting the atrocities committed by the Communist party was published in the Hindustan Times.

He was elected to the Hyderabad assembly in the first general elections in 1952 and was inducted as Minister with cabinet rank in the B. Ramakrishna Rao cabinet. In later years, he was returned to the assembly many more time with a thumping majority. He held several portfolios during his political journey including Food and Agriculture, Steel and Planning.

Inexorable rise to the highest echelons of leadership: The period during 1950 and 1970 was an eventful and tumultuous one which witnessed the transformation of a leader into a statesman. It was during this period that Dr. Channa Reddy grew in stature. In a chequered career spanning five decades, Dr. Marri Channa Reddy graced the highest offices in the country and served the nation with singular devotion. As PCC President, he demonstrated extraordinary organization skills and steered the congress party to victory on many vital occasions. As Chief Minister twice, he put the state in overdrive, triggering rapid industrialization. His tenure as Central minister witnessed several far-reaching transformations in the steel industry, specifically, the establishment of the Visakhapatnam Steel plant. As Governor of four states, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu, he ushered in administrative change, reinvigorated ailing academic institutions, introduced land reforms, promoted agricultural growth and strived for social and economic upliftment.

On 2nd December 1996, Dr. MCR passed away at the age of 77. Tributes from all over the country poured in with many describing him as a towering icon of statesmanship, whose life, success and leadership skills were worthy of emulation. A political leader who left a lasting impact on India, he influenced India and transformed Andhra Pradesh through his leadership.