TIRUPATI: He was an eminent IAS officer, discharging his duties as Principal Secretary/Special Officer (EDI) of Small Industries in Government of Tamil Nadu.
With still four years for retirement, this civil servant called it quits stating he could serve the people better by being a politician than a bureaucrat. He joined the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) attracted by its motto of `social justice for all’.
Fifty-five-year old Velagapalli Varaprasad Rao, IAS officer of the 83 batch of Tamil Naidu cadre, who is contesting the prestigious Tirupati Parliamentary constituency, in an interview with `Express’ shared his reasons for joining the party and thoughts on the PRP’s promises to people.
“Nowadays, civil services are not that satisfying.
They have their own limitations and restrictions. Hence, I choose to leave the services, with still four years of service left and joined the PRP to serve the people more freely,’’ he said.
On his choice of the PRP as his political launch pad, he said he was attracted by its determination to bring about change and achieve social justice. He thanked PRP chief Chiranjeevi for choosing him to contest the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat.
“I am not new to this place even though some consider me an outsider. My elder brother and sister-in-law have been living here for long and I was with them for several years. I served as Civil Servant in the area of Tamil Nadu having borders with Chittoor and Nellore and am pretty much aware of people’s problems,’’ he said.
Varaprasad, who feels that the PRP has a mature think tank, including former IAS and IPS officers, is quite confident of the success of PRP’s promises. “They are practical and achievable. It is time that people, who contribute to the exchequer of the State, get back some in different forms,’’ he said and added that the party had done its homework before making such promises.
Stating that he too had contributed to the preparation of the PRP’s manifesto, he said when the party said it was going to address the problem of unemployment by providing 10 lakh jobs in 1,000 days, it did not mean that everyone would get a job in the IT or IT-related sectors and start earning exorbitant salaries. “There is demand for skilled workers in different sectors and we plan to supply that skilled manpower by way of providing necessary skill sets to both the urban and the rural youth,’’ he said.
When asked about Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Satyavedu, considering Chiranjeevi’s oft repeated criticism against the government in this regard, Varaprasad said a practical approach would be adopted. “We will go according to the situation. If there has been no construction, the lands will be redistributed to the farmers from whom it was acquired. If construction works have already begun, we will ensure suitable compensation to the farmers so that no injustice is done,’’ he said.
On not being visible in campaigning, he said campaigning wasn’t restricted to going out with pomp and show; it also meant interacting with people and knowing their problems and wants.