Hyderabad: Veteran Congress leader S. Jaipal Reddy was the anti-thesis of the image of a ‘rich land-owning Reddy farmer’. Though born into a well-to-do agricultural family in Mahbubnagar, Jaipal Reddy chose to lead a vastly different life from the one he was born into.
His relative, Mr K. Narender Reddy says Jaipal Reddy was a simple man and lead very simple life. He had a very good memory and used to call the people with their names whenever he visited villages in Mahbubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts.
That is why his defeat from the Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha seat in 1989 must have been galling. He lost only one other election, to Mrs Indira Gandhi in Medak in 1980, but that was in a different league, Till the last, he was a power in Mahbubnagar.
Jaipal Reddy never missed a function that he received an invitation to from the family members and the people of his area. At the height of his career, he never made people feel they were talking to an Union minister, Mr Narender Reddy said.
On the death of his father, Jaipal Reddy gained instant popularity by waiving the debts of farmers of his village and surrounding villages.
He returned the promissory notes which the farmers had pledged with his father, recalled a senior journalist.
Mr Narender Reddy said he helped many deserving poor persons but he never opted for any publicity.
While Jaipal Reddy cut his political teeth while in Osmania University, he had among the best political orators as his contemporaries — Gouthu Latch-anna, Puchhalapalli Sun-daraiah, Sultan Salauddin Owaisi, Chandra Rajes-wara Rao, M. Venkaiah Naidu, N. Amarnath Reddy and M. Omkar.
It is from this cohort that he emerged as among the most effective spokespersons and, at the turn of the century, the best Parliamentarian.
Jaipal Reddy was a “political sharpshooter’ and exposed many scams with evidence and record. Not for him today’s spit-and-scoot style. At his most vociferous, in his bitter moments, he was the perfect gentleman.
Congress leader Moham-med Ali Shabbir recalling his association with Jaipal Reddy since the 1980s said he never ran after posts. A ministry was his for the asking in the V.P. Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda regimes but it was not till I.K. Gujral became Prime Minister that Jaipal Reddy was inducted into the Cabinet.
He noted that Jaipal Reddy stayed with the Congress, the Janata Party and Janata Dal even in its decline but never joined the Telugu Desam which had supported him the 1984 and 1989 polls.
For journalists, he was a delight or, as a senior scribe called him, “media dictator”. No journalist needed to worry for the leading points or headlines in his statements, the scribe said. Jaipal Reddy spoke in such a way that the headline was apparent and obvious. In this he was like Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, who specialises in a rhyme a minute....