Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
was born on May 18, 1913 and died on June 1, 1996.
SHRI NEELAM SANJIVA REDDY, the sixth President of India,
was a veteran statesman and administrator. He held many
eminent positions in public life both before and after independence.
Born in a peasant family at Illuri village in the Anantapur
District (Andhra Pradesh) on May 19, 1913, Shri Sanjiva
Reddy had his early education at the Theosophical High School
at Adyar in Madras and later joined the Arts College at
In 1931, the young Sanjiva Reddy gave up his studies to
take part in the freedom movement. His student days were
marked by Youth League and other nationalist activities.
In fact, he first came into limelight when he participated
in a student satyagraha.
At the age of 25, Shri Reddy was elected Secretary of the
Andhra Pradesh Provincial Congress Committee and remained
in that office for 10 years. He was in prison for a greater
part of the period 1940-1945. In March 1942,he was released
for a while but in August, the same year he was re-arrested
and kept in Amraoti jail in Madhya Pradesh along with Shri
Prakasam, Shri Satyamurti, Shri Kamaraj, Shri Giri and others
In 1946, Shri Reddy was elected to the Madras Legislaltive
Assembly and became the Secretary of the Madras Congress
Legislature Party the following year. In 1947, he became
a Member of the Indian Constitutent Assembly.
From April 1949 to April 1951, he was Minister for Prohibition,
Housing and Forests in the composite state of Madras. In
1951, he resigned this office to contest the Election for
the Presidentship of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee
which he won. It was during this period that Shri Reddy
suffered a terrible tragedy in the death of his five year
old son in a motor accident. This shocked him so deeply
that he resigned the APCC Presidentship. Later, however,
he was prevailed upon to withdraw his resignation.
In 1952, he was elected Member of the Rajya Sabha. In 1953,
he accepted the post of Deputy Chief Minister in the Cabinet
of the late Shri T. Prakasam, even though he was elected
the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party. He was again
elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1955 and became Deputy
Chief Minister in Shri B. Gopala Reddi's cabinet.
Shri Reddy became the first Chief Minister to the new State
of Andhra Pradesh which was formed following the reorganization
of the States in October, 1956. In 1959, he resigned the
Chief Ministership to take over the Presidentship of the
Indian National Congress. On the expiry of his term of office
in March, 1962, he again became the Chief Minister of Andhra
Pradesh. In February 1964, he voluntarily resigned the office
of Chief Minister in order to set high standards of public
life. He was, however, re-elected as the leader of the Congress
Legislature Party but he recommended to the Governor to
invite Shri K. Brahmananda Reddy, a colleague of his to
form a new Ministry.
On June 9, 1964, Shri Reddy was appointed a Member of the
Union Cabinet formed by Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri and took
over the portfolio of Steel and Mines. He was elected to
the Rajya Sabha in November, 1964.
Shri Reddy was Union Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation,
Shipping and Tourism from January 1966 to March 1967 in
the Cabinet formed by Shrimati Indira Gandhi. In the General
Elections in 1967, he was returned to the Lok Sabha from
Hindupur constituency in Andhra Pradesh. He was elected
Speaker of the Lok Sabha on March 17, 1967, an office that
won him unprecedented acclaim and admiration.
Shri Reddy resigned the Speakership of the Lok Sabha on
the 19th July, 1969 to contest the Presidential election
on the basis of his nomination as a nominee of the Congress
filed by Shrimati Indira Gandhi. It is now common knowledge
that after filing this nomination Shrimati Indira Gandhi
subsequently organized his defeat in the elections by unethical
After 1969, Shri Reddy devoted his time to agriculture,
which has always remained his first love. However, on May
1, 1975 he entered active politics again by addressing a
public meeting at Hyderabad along with Shri Jayaprakash
Narain. In March 1977, he fought the Lok Sabha election
from Nandyal constituency in Andhra Pradesh as a Janata
Party candidate. He was the only non-Congress candidate
to get elected from Andhra Pradesh.
Shri Reddy was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha
on March 26, 1977. He relinquished this office on July 13,
1977 to file his nomination for the Presidentship of the
Indian Union. He was unanimously sponsored as the consensus
candidate for the Presidentship by all political parties,
a rare even in recent political history. He was declared
elected unopposed on July 21, 1977.
The degree of Honorary Doctor of Laws was conferred on Shri
Sanjiva Reddy by the Sri Venkateshwara University in 1958.
Shri Sanjiva Reddy married Shrimati Nagarathnamma on June
8, 1935 and they had one son and three daughters.