VIJAYAWADA: Dr Mallipudi Srirama Sanjeevi Rao was a man of several personal accomplishments before he entered politics. He became a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1970 and with a hat-trick of victories got himself elected to the fifth, sixth and seventh Lok Sabha, a reflection of the love and support he enjoyed amongst his people.
Minister & Technocrat
Sanjeevi Rao was the first minister of the newly created Ministry of Electronics and Communication in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s cabinet (1982-1984). The Ministry of Electronics and Communication preceded the IT ministry and Rao was singularly instrumental in pioneering revolutionary changes in this industry. He was also the Chairman of the Electronic Commission and under its aegis he founded the National Informatics Center and Semi Conductor Complex. Rao is best known as the man who encouraged and expanded TV telecast in India, when the Asian Games were held in 1982.
The Son of the Soil
Born on May 3, 1929 at Bhimunipatnam in Visakhapatnam district, Sanjeevi Rao was a visionary and social reformer who followed in the footsteps of his father Mallipudi Pallam Raju, a freedom fighter and AP minister.
Rao was responsible for transforming Kakinada into an industrial zone by developing the previously inaccessible coastline of Kakinada with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank funds. The Coastal Corridor and highway was also developed giving fishermen access to the mainstream markets. The Kakinada port and fishing harbour were built under his guidance. He had also played a role in bringing the Nagarjuna and Godavari fertilizer plants to Kakinada.
Rao did his engineering from Guindy Engineering College, Madras, MIEE at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London and a PhD in management studies from Andhra University. He was also awarded a doctorate from the University of Grenoble besides being honoured by the Madam Curie University with a post doctoral degree and was among the 10 academics who are honoured every decade.
Sanjeevi Rao founded micro ceramics, the first electronic component industry in India. A widely travelled man, Rao held several key positions and was on the boards of several organisations in the fields of defence, communications, research, electronics, fisheries and fertilisers.
Having lost his wife Rajeshwari early (1974), he brought up his two sons, Pallam Raju and Anand Mallipudi, single-handedly. Pallam Raju assumed Rao’s political mantle after he suffered a stroke and remained partially paralysed in 1988 only to be the youngest member of the 9th Lok Sabha.
Pranab Mourns Rao’s Death
President Pranab Mukherjee, in a condolence message to Pallam Raju, described Dr Rao as a distinguished Parliamentarian and an able administrator who served the nation in different capacities. AP Governor ESL Narsimhan, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and many other state and national leaders mourned Sanjeevi Rao’s death.