<b>XI LOK SABHA DEBATES, <i> Session I </i> </b>
XI LOK SABHA DEBATES, Session I Monday, June 10, 1996/ jyaistha 20, 1918 (Saka)

Title: References made on passing away of the former President, Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy and Members namely Sarvashri Ram Charan, Valmiki Choudhury, D.D. Puri, P.A. Antony and Vijay Pal Singh.
MR.  SPEAKER : Hon.Members, I have to inform the House with profound sorrow of
the sad demise of our former esteemed President, Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy  and
five  former  colleagues  viz.  Sarvashri Ram Charan, Valmiki Choudhury, D. D.
Puri, P. A. Antony and Vijay Pal Singh.

An illustrious son of India, Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was one of the veterans of India's struggle for freedom and a leading light in the country's socio-political life for more than half a century. He took part in India's Freedom Movement and was imprisoned several times.

Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was actively associated with the political affairs of his home State, Andhra Pradesh since 1931. He was Member of Madras Legislative Assembly in 1946 and Constituent Assembly of India in 1947. He served as Minister in the State Government of Madras during 1949-51 and held various important portfolios. Thereafter he served his native State of Andhra Pradesh as Deputy Chief Minister in 1953 and later as Chief Minister during 1956 and again in 1962-64. He also served as Minister of Steel and Mines, Transport, Aviation, Shipping and Tourism in the Union Council of Ministers during 1964-67.

Dr. Reddy, a conscientious parliamentarian of high standing, was Member of Rajya Sabha in 1952 and 1964 to 67 and was later elected to the Fourth Lok Sabha in 1967 and was elected to the Office of Speaker, Lok Sabha and continued to hold that office till 1969. He was deeply devoted to Parliamentary institutions and made a very distinguished contribution as Presiding Officer in form of decisions and rulings from the Chair.

A widely travelled person, he headed many Parliamentary delegations to various countries. He was again elected to the Sixth Lok Sabha in 1977 and re-elected Speaker of the Sixth Lok Sabha during the same year. However, he was destined to have greater attainments.

In July, 1977, on his being chosen as the President of India, his long and illustrious public career reached its zenith. Through his administrative acumen, he added dignity to this office. A man who rose from humble means, displayed throughout his public life an abiding commitment to the welfare of the people. His skill in handling the tortuous political and administrative situations of the time is an ample testimony of his innate qualities, astuteness and equipoise in the moments of stress and crisis.

His amiable disposition and genial informality earned him accolades. Even after he retired from the august Office of the President of India, his sage counsel served as a beacon in the troubled times.

His name will ever remain inscribed in the annals of India's parliamentary and political history.

Dr. Reddy passed away at Bangalore on 1 June, 1996 at the age of 83 years. In his death, the nation had been deprived of a statesman of rare quality, a veteran freedom fighter, true democrat, able parliamentarian and, above all, a gem of a person. Though Dr. Reddy is no longer in our midst, his memories will be with us for many years to come.

Shri Ram Charan was a member of Fourth Lok Sabha representing Khurja Parliamentary Constituency of Uttar Pradesh during 1967 to 1970.

A dedicated political and social worker, Shri Ram Charan was associated with various organisations connected with the welfare of labourers and worked hard for the upliftment of weaker sections of the society.

Shri Ram Charan passed away in New Delhi on 15 March, 1996 at the age of 70 years.

Shri Valmiki Choudhury was a Member of Fourth Lok Sabha representing Hazipur Parliamentary Constituency of Bihar during 1967-70.

An active social and political worker, Shri Choudhury worked hard for upliftment of rural areas and development of weaker sections of the society. He was a member of Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

A close associate of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Shri Choudhury participated in the freedom struggle and was imprisoned several times and remained in jail during 1942-45.

A man of letters, Shri Valmiki Choudhury authored a number of books, important among them being 'Rajendra Babu Ka Vyaktitva', 'Rashtrapati Bhavan ki Diary', 'Ajat Shatru' etc.

Shri Valmiki Choudhury passed away on 28th March, 1996 at the age of 75 years at New Delhi.

Shri D.D. Puri was a Member of the Third Lok Sabha representing Kaithal Parliamentary Constituency of undivided Punjab State during 1962-67.

Earlier, he had been a Member of Punjab Vidhan Sabha during 1952-62.

A dedicated social and political worker, he worked relentlessly for the upliftment of the down-trodden. A noted industrialist, Shri Puri represented India at the United Nations Sugar Conference, Now York in 1956 and again at Geneva in 1958 and 1961 and led several trade delegations to Iran and Pakistan in 1961.

An able Parliamentarian, he lost no opportunity to draw the attention of the House to the problems faced by the workers.

Shri D.D. Puri passed away at London, the United Kingdom on 22nd April, 1996 at the age of 82 years.

Shri P.A. Antony was a Member of Eighth and Ninth Lok Sabha representing Trichur Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala during 1984-89 and 1989-91.

Earlier, he had been a Member of Legislative Assembly of Kerala during 1972-77. A well-known political and social worker, Shri P.A. Antony took keen interest in the development of education for the weaker sections of the society.

An active Parliamentarian, Shri Antony also served as Member of the Committee on Government Assurances, Consultative Committee of Commerce, Committee on Official Language, Committee on Papers Laid on the Table and Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Shri P.A. Antony passed away at Chalakudy on 24th April, 1996 at the age of 60 years.

Shri Vijay Pal Singh was a Member of Fifth Lok Sabha representing Muzaffarnagar Parliamentary Constituency of Uttar Pradesh during 1971-77.

Earlier, he had been a Member of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly during 1952-59 and 1962-67.

An agriculturist by profession, he was associated with various organisations connected with the welfare of peasants in different capacities.

Shri Singh worked relentlessly for creating awareness among the downtrodden about their rights and strove for eradication of social evils emanating from casteism and communalism. He dedicated his entire life for amelioration of the lot of the weaker sections of the society.

Shri Vijay Pal Singh passed away at District Hospital, Muzaffarnagar on the 6th of May, 1996 at the age of 73 years.

We deeply mourn the loss of these friends and I am sure the House will join me in conveying our condolences to the bereaved families.

Now, Mr. Prime Minister.


THE PRIME MINISTER (SHRI H.D. DEVEGOWDA): Hon. Speaker, Sir, while associating myself with the Condolence Resolution moved by your honour in this House, it is my painful duty this morning to associate myself with the Motion paying homage to Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.

In the demise of Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, the nation has lost an eminent freedom fighter, an able administrator, a clean politician and an elder statesman. He sacrificed almost everything during the freedom struggle including his higher education by responding to the clarion call of Mahatma Gandhi by taking a plunge into freedom struggle early in his youth and spent several years in Jail. He was from a farming family. By sheer dint of sacrifice, hard work and merit, he became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. As Chief Minister, he took initiative in launching many projects which later led to an accelerated agricultural development. He was not only a progressive administrator but also an extraordinarily sensitive politician. He was a mass leader and was deeply committed to high standards in public life.

He served the country in several capacities starting as a Member of the Madras Legislative Assembly and the Constituent Assembly of India, as Minister in the State and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He was a Member in the Cabinet formed by Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri and later in the Cabinet of Shrimati Indira Gandhi. As an able administrator, he provided mature guidance to several Ministries in the Central Government. It was a tribute to his parliamentary skills that he was elected the Speaker of the 4th Lok Sabha, an office that won him wide acclaim. It was a tribute to his genius that he was again elected unanimously the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in March, 1977 and then went on to be elected unanimously to the highest office of the land.

I had the fortune of knowing him closely for several years. I also had the opportunity of interacting closely with him during his last years when he made Bangalore his home. As I speak about him today, many of these memories of my association with him are crowding in. The public life of India is poorer by his departure, but he will always remain one of the prime examples of public life for all of us to emulate.

I would also like to place on record our condolences on the passing away of some of our former colleagues.

Shri Ram Charan was a Member of the 4th Lok Sabha who had special interest in social work and uplift of the downtrodden.

Shri Valmiki Choudhary is well known for his close association with our first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He has done a signal service to the nation by collecting and compiling papers relating to Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

We also mourn the death of Shri D.D. Puri, Shri P.A. Antony and Shri Vijay Pal Singh. Shri Puri was closely associated with the interest of farmers and the sugar industry. Shri P.A. Antony was an intellectual and a distinguished sportsman. Shri Vijay Pal Singh took special interest and was devoted to the welfare of the working class, peasants and youth.

I wish to place on record the deep sense of personal loss and grief felt by the nation and by all of us on the passing away of Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and our former colleagues.

May their souls rest in peace!



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SHRI P.V. NARASIMHA RAO (BERHAMPUR): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

I am particularly grieved at the loss of Dr. Sanjiva Reddy. Apart from what all has been said about his services to the country, he being a freedom fighter, his adorning several positions of eminence and responsibility, I have a whole chapter which is connected with my personal relationship with him. I owe many of the things in my life to him. He gave my first break as a Minister in his Council of Ministers in 1962. He was extremely kind to me and appreciative of whatever good work I did, whenever I did a good work. I remember many, many anecdotes to prove this point. He held me in great affection. He made me the representative of his own district Anantapur, which all of us know is one of the least developed districts in the country. He often used to say about the River Pennar, which flows through Anantapur, `what flows in this river is sand and not water'. He had many such light-hearted jokes to describe the indescribable poverty in Anantapur. I was fortunate to formulate some of the schemes in Anantapur, which have taken decades and decades. Some of them, actually, are fructifying now. And, whenever, I happened to meet Dr. Sanjiva Reddy in Bangalore, he always remembered of what I had started as a Minister in his Cabinet and what is being done decade after decade since.

He was a very honest man. His honesty was almost proverbial in the South of India. One of the anecdotes which went round and which was true, absolutely true, in every word was to the effect that when he was the PWD Minister in Madras State, in the old Madras State, one gentleman went to him with a closed letter from one of his - Dr. Sanjiva Reddy's - very, very dear friends.

He took the letter. He did not open it. He only said, `I understand what this letter contains. I know you are a contractor. Either take the letter back for your own safety or if you want me to open it, you run the risk of my going against you merely because you have brought a recommendation here'. The man without any demur took it back. This anecdote, true anecdote has been known to many people in the South, MLAs and others and to a very large extent for his firmness. Where he considers something right, not to compromise with what he considers right has been known all over the country.

He was the Congress President also. Perhaps this was the very very trying moment for him because the Prime Minister was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. To act as a Congress President when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was at the other end towering over everything in the country and the Congress, was a real job. I can say without fear of contradiction that Dr. Sanjiva Reddy proved to the task of becoming a leader, not necessarily opposed to the Prime Minister, a leader along with the Prime Minister, but not a subordinate to him. I mean, this is how I would like to put it. Though that relationship was very very instructive, we try to learn something, we try to look into the nitty-gritty of that relationship. And then again, he went back as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. As the President of India, he showed that he need not necessarily and without demur sign on dotted lines. He had the courage to say that in his humble opinion what was being proposed by the Cabinet does not appear to be correct, would the Cabinet look at it again. And in most of these matters I happened to be the intermediary. So, I know how things went. On the other side was Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister. I was a Minister in her Cabinet. So, these happenings, these events, these nuances which perhaps do not have any place in the pages of history are known only to those who went through these nuances and very minutely studied them. I happened to be one of them and I feel blessed by these experiences and I would say that personally, I would call this a loss to me personally and in me I find something missing by the demise of Dr.Sanjiva Reddy. Whenever I went to Bangalore, I made it a point to meet him. And he went over the entire scenario. He was so interested in the minute things happening anywhere in the country and in the world. When I became Foreign Minister, he was very deeply interested in Foreign Affairs. I explained things and he with his sturdy common sense suggested things which perhaps would not have occurred to the Ministry of External Affairs. Some of them I know. So, we were greatly profited by him. And I for one would remember him, his personality and his relationship with me all my life.