Why Jayadev Galla wasn’t a surprise choice to initiate TDP’s no-confidence motion

Jayadev Galla’s grandfather was TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s political mentor and his mother was a minister in several Congress governments in undivided Andhra Pradesh.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2018 11:35 IST
Venkatesh Babu
Venkatesh Babu
Hindustan Times
Who is Jayadev Galla,TDP,Chandrababu Naidu
Telugu Desam Party MP Jayadev Galla speaks in the Lok Sabha on no-confidence motion during the monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI photo)

When a no-confidence motion is moved, the party initiating it usually fields a senior hand to attack the government of the day. So most people outside the Telugu speaking states were surprised when the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) fielded a virtually unknown member of Parliament, 52-year-old Jayadev Galla, to lay out its case. Those who were watching on TV would also have been surprised at the strong American accent with which this MP took on the government.

For observers of Andhra politics, though, Galla is no stranger. They also would not have been surprised that N Chandrababu Naidu chose him to lead the party’s attack in Parliament. While Galla might be a first-time MP from Guntur, he has an impressive political lineage.

Galla’s maternal grandfather Paturi Rajagopala Naidu was a freedom fighter, and, more importantly, the political mentor of Naidu. Both Rajagopala, affectionately called Rajanna, and Naidu belong to Andhra’s Chittor. Rajagopala was himself twice an MP, having won on the Swatantra Party ticket. Along with Prof NG Ranga, it was Rajanna who originally helped build the Swatantra Party against Congress dominance in the state, but he eventually joined hands with the Congress.

While his political successor was his daughter Aruna Kumari, Rajanna was quick to see the leadership potential of Naidu and helped groom him to not only become an MLA—from Chandragiri-- but also one of the ministers in the Congress cabinet of Tanguturi Anjaiah. Naidu never forgot that, even though he later left the Congress to join the TDP started by his father-in-law NT Rama Rao.

Aruna Kumari, who, by then, was married to Ramchandra Naidu Galla — an NRI who had returned to set up Amar Raja Batteries — went onto become a three-time MLA from Chandragiri. Aruna became a minister in several Congress governments in undivided Andhra. After Andhra’s division and the decimation of the Congress in the state, Aruna joined TDP before the 2014 elections.

An IANS report from 2014 says Jayadev Galla, who was then his mother’s political manager, wanted to contest an assembly by-election from Tirupati in 2012 on a Congress ticket the leadership refused to field him. Galla too joined the TDP along with this mother.

Though Aruna Kumari herself was defeated, Galla contested from Guntur on a TDP ticket, and won easily. Thus it was not a surprise to AP political observers that Chandrababu Naidu decided to field the suave, well-educated Galla to present the state’s case that injustice had been done to it.

Galla, while speaking in Parliament, referred to Tollywood movie Bharat Ane Nenu and how the protagonist, an NRI who returns to India, always remembers that a “promise is a promise”. Interestingly, the movie’s hero , Mahesh Babu, is his brother-in-law.

Galla, who studied politics and economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, is managing director of Amar Raja. He listed assets of Rs 683 crore before the 2014 elections.

First Published: Jul 21, 2018 00:16 IST