[News article published in Times of India Newspaper – 6th April 2014)
By: Sudipta Sengupta | TNN
Armed with an engineering degree, international acclaim and a posse of tech-savvy campaign advisors, Konda Vishweshwara Reddy is the quintessential ‘modern age’ neta. But this uber urbane TRS candidate from Chevella Lok Sabha constituency also has a rustic side to him: he is a local boy born in the Old City who, by his own admission, speaks better Urdu than Telugu and is still as attached to his village Dharmasagar in Chevella __ only 30 kilometers away from his plush home in Banjara Hills __ as he was during his childhood. It is for these people that the 54-year-old grandson of Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy has set foot into the murky world of politics.
“I am not here to win or to become a Member of Parliament. I am here to work for the people of my constituency (it comprises a chunk of Ranga Reddy’s rural belt) and weed out the discrimination the Telangana region has been subjected to, all these years,” said the debutant politician. Reddy, however, started working in the “backward areas of western Ranga Reddy district” three years ago.
“Under the Justice Konda Madhava Reddy Foundation (JKMRF) we have been conducting an 18-month training programme __ in welding, painting and other mechanical trades __ for the youth of this area. This has increased their employability manifold. Some of them also work in my companies,” Reddy said. There are other irrigation and drinking water projects that the newlycrowned TRS member has his eyes set on to uplift rural Chevella; mostly spread across the assembly constituency belts of Pargi, Vikarabad, Tandur and Chevella.
But the founder of the Progressive Telangana Foundation assures not to let his ‘hi-tech’ voters down either. For them, the engineer-turned-political leader has designed a ‘threatre district’ model that he hopes to start work on soon. “This is a western model that allows for cultural exchanges, something that old Hyderabad was known for. This district once a reality will help in attracting MNCs to the city and even improve quality of life,” said the MP candidate, extremely conscious of the fact that 11.5 lakh of his total 21 lakh voter base, is from this techie-invested belt.
IT’S OFFICIAL: K Vishweshwara Reddy with his wife Sangita Reddy, executive director, Apollo Hospitals Group, after filing his nomination on Saturday
Reddy is, however, also aware that he would perhaps garner a chunk of his votes not from here but from the lesser progressive areas of his constituency. “Though only 9.5 lakh voters are from the rural areas estimates show that the voting percentage in this zone is a high 70% as opposed to the meager 20% in the urban part of Chevella. This time though, we expect the ‘city count’ to go up to 30%,” he explained, while confessing that it’s only after a “detailed research” of the game of politics, thanks to his team of ‘intellectuals’, that he agreed to take the plunge.
His study material comprised the latest AP, UP and Karnataka by-elections.
“There were two crucial conclusions that we drew from these polls: spending the highest amount of money on campaigns doesn’t guarantee victory (example: Mayawati and Reddy brothers of Bellary) and that winning an election is not impossible,” Reddy shared, in between narrating his journey into this profession that his legendary grandfather had categorically advised all his descendants to stay away from. “I too would have never ventured into it had I not been exposed to the widespread discrimination against the people of Telangana or seen some young guns (such as Yadaiah) give their lives for the T movement. That’s what turned me from an armchair activist to a ground-level agitator,” he stressed.
And now that Reddy is here, he is not just looking forward to bringing about development in his constituency by fully utilizing the usually under-utilized MPLADS funds, but is also aiming to defeat his “corrupt opponents” (read: Sabitha Indra Reddy and family) who he accuses of infecting politics with hooliganism.
Only time will tell, what is in store for this first-time netaji.