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Konijeti Rosaiah: Andhra Pradesh's peddayana bids goodbye

The 88-year-old late leader belonged to the category of politicians who had the heart to say enough is enough and quit politics when he felt it was time for him to make an exit.

Published: 04th December 2021 09:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2021 09:02 PM   |  A+A-

Ex-CM of Andhra Pradesh and former Governor of Tamil Nadu K Rosaiah (Photo| EPS)

By Online Desk

Konijeti Rosaiah, who passed away after a brief illness on Saturday morning, was a low-profile peddayana (elder statesman) with a long political career that began under the tutelage of Swatantra Party leader NG Ranga. He had the privilege of working with leaders who sacrificed everything else in pursuit of the freedom struggle.

Although not media savvy and flamboyant, it was said of Rosaiah that he was anything but boring. He was, admittedly, not of the socialising kind. Factionalism too was not his cup of tea.

The 88-year-old leader belonged to the category of politicians who had the heart to say enough is enough and quit politics when he felt it was time for him to make an exit instead of carrying on with a desire to land another top post after serving as Governor of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. 

“You can say I have just retired from all political activity once for all. Let me lead a peaceful life in my own house in Hyderabad,” he had said when he retired from politics in the year 2016 at the age of 83.

“I cannot re-enter politics and the Congress party at this age. I have had the longest political innings of over six decades in undivided Andhra Pradesh. Now the state has also been bifurcated. I cannot settle in AP or take any active role in Congress politics," Deccan Chronicle quoted the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh as saying at that time.

The late leader was a details man and an astute strategist. 

Rosaiah taking oath as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (File Photo | EPS)

The New Indian Express had captured this in a feature on the eve of the first anniversary of his Chief Ministership on September 3, 2010: "It is in the nature of governance that frequently you come up against a crisis, and character lies in overcoming it and carrying on. You don't go to war on a crisis. It has to be persuaded and cajoled into submission. You nick it here and cut it there and whittle it down to size. When it is reduced enough, you clamber on it and ride it out. That’s the way of Rosaiah. He’s not a grand rhetorician - who’s to say he cannot match the best of them word for word? - but an astute strategist who will make small actions pay big dividends. That’s why his ministers call him the Peddayana, the elder statesman."

It was a crisis -- the unfortunate and unexpected demise of then Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy in a tragic helicopter accident -- that saddled Rosaiah with the CM's role on September 3, 2009. "He came to responsibility. He didn’t ask to be given the job. It fell to him. It fell to him because there was a question that needed an answer, and he was the man most likely to have it,"  one of our articles underlined.

It had been serendipity that cast Rosaiah into the role of an interpreter for Jawaharlal Nehru during his student days. He was in Delhi for a student conference and dropped in at Teen Murti Bhavan where some farmers from Andhra were trying to explain their problems to the Prime Minister. Nehru couldn’t understand what they were saying and asked if anyone could interpret for him in English. Rosaiah stepped up and did the honours. He interpreted Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi too.

Governor of Tamil Nadu K Rosaiah with CM J Jayalalithaa

Dasu Kesava Rao writing for the New Indian Express noted that administrative experience and political acumen apart, Rosaiah was best known for his brilliant performance as a legislator in both Houses of the Legislature. Endowed with a sharp wit, quick repartee and incisive sarcasm, Rosaiah exploited these skills to maximum advantage to floor adversaries. 

The late leader could use words like the lash of a whip. He could be irascible in the defence of his team, and could attack a foe with a finely-honed speech. In him lay an ability to pull himself up to great authority and impose himself on the matter at hand. He was anything but boring. Who else (but Rosaiah) would tell an MLA bored by his budget speech: Go take a B complex tablet?

To the end, he remained a contented man. He emphasised this in an interview, where he said, "I was grateful to the leadership whenever they gave me an assignment, whether in the party or the government. I always stood by the leader in the state and at the national level. And the party gave me a lot of opportunities. I was content." 



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