In YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s untimely death, Andhra Pradesh has lost a good leader. On a personal note, I’ve lost an old friend.
Our careers moved parallel, the two of us becoming MLAs for the first time in 1978, serving as ministers in governments of T Anjaiah, B Venkataram Reddy and K Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy.
Only that YSR became Chief Minister after me. He was first elected to the assembly as a candidate of the Congress faction led by Brahmananda Reddy after the Emergency. I won on the Indira Congress ticket. Later, he joined the parent party.
Being from the same age group and the adjoining districts of Kadapa and Chittoor, we moved together. Till 1983 we were close friends and met almost daily. We visited Delhi together and often went to Tirupati for pilgrimages.
Thereafter, I joined the TDP when it was launched, laying the basis of our political battles.
But we only fought on public and political issues. Between 1999-2004, he was the Leader of Opposition and I the CM.
In 2003, when Naxalites made an attempt on my life, he went on an impromptu dharna (sit-in protest) at Tirupati.
While the search operations were on, I was in constant touch with his son Jagan Mohan, State Finance Minister Rosaiah and Defence Minister Antony. I condoled with his wife and son after the news of his death this morning. I’d be attending his funeral.
(As told to Vinod Sharma)