Hyderabad: Former Union minister and Congress leader S. Jaipal Reddy, known for his probity and the staunchness of his beliefs, died early on Monday morning. He was 77. He is survived by his wife Lakshmi Reddy, two sons and a daughter. None of them is in politics.
He was recently diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to a hospital where he died at 1.28 am.
The news was received with shock and leaders from all political parties visited his house to pay their respects even as tributes poured in from President Ram Nath Kovind who called him “a thinking person’s politician and outstanding parliamentarian”.
In his tribute, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Jaipal Reddy as an articulate speaker and effective administrator. Jaipal Reddy, who began his political career as a student of Osmania University, joined the Congress, shifted to the Janata Party during the Emergency and returned to the Congress later.
He served five terms as a Lok Sabha member, two terms in the Rajya Sabha and won four Assembly elections in a high-profile political career. He was as much remembered for being a staunch supporter of Telangana statehood as for contesting against Indira Gandhi from the Medak seat on a Janata Party ticket and for levying a fine on Reliance Industries as Union petroleum minister.
A doughty fighter, Jaipal Reddy never left his limited mobility due to polio, which he contracted when he was 18 months old, stop him from achieving political heights. Thanks to his exceptional oratorical skills and articulation, he was the spokesperson for the United Front and National Front governments and the Congress when he returned to it. He served as minister in the I.K. Gujral government and in the Manmohan Singh governments from 2004 to 2014. He was at various times minister for information and broadcasting, urban development, petroleum and natural gas, science and technology.
Jaipal Reddy was born on January 16, 1942, to a rich agriculture family, completed his primary education in a government school at Devarakonda and did his post graduation from Osmania University.
He started his political carrier as a student leader, joined the Congress and was elected MLA from Kalwakurthy for the first time in 1969 at the peak of Telangana agitation.
About three decades later, in 1998, he was the first MP from south India to receive the best parliamentarian award. But he sat out the recent elections due to his age and health concerns.
He quit the Congress in protest against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s imposition of the Emergency in 1977, and joined the Janata Party. He contested against Indira Gandhi from Medak LS seat....