Tech honcho in Andhra poll fray for Telangana cause (Election Special)
Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, a tech honcho, admits his personality doesn't suit politics, but he is determined to try to narrow the gap between the two different worlds that Andhra Pradesh's Chevella parliamentary constituency represents.
Reddy, an engineer who headed companies like Wipro Healthcare and GE Medical Information Technology, aims to use his professional skills to better the lives of people.
Campaigning under the hot sun in Premnagar, a teeming slum barely a kilometre from the gleaming towers housing global software giants in Hitec City here, he promised to bridge the gap between the 'hi-tech' and the 'low tech'.
Contesting as a candidate of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), he is one of the richest contestants in Andhra Pradesh with family assets of Rs.528 crore.
The grandson of former deputy chief minister Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy is looking to play a key role in rebuilding Telangana, which is set to be born as India's 29th state June 2.
According to him, there are more than 70 central government schemes which can be utilized for simple things like loans for unemployed youth.
"MPs good or bad don't do that because it's a professional job with huge responsibility," he told IANS
"I will set up two offices with engineers, MBAs, social workers and degree holders who will liaison with government agencies and get benefits of those schemes here," promised the US-educated engineer, who also worked as a faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The 54-year-old, who is at present managing director, Citadel Research and Solutions, Ltd, started social work in 2003 and later joined the Telangana movement.
TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao persuaded him to join the party and contest the elections.
"I am not suitable for politics. I have passion for technology and machines. My language is not good and I have varied interests. But I felt the cause of achieving Telangana and rebuilding it is greater."
Chevella Lok Sabha constituency, which covers both the IT clusters of Hitec City and Gacchibowli here, has two different worlds. It comprises urban areas on the periphery of Hyderabad and the rural areas in the adjacent Ranga Reddy district.
"My rural upbringing, my living in the old city of Hyderabad and my IT background connect me with all sections of people," said Vishweshwar Reddy, who is the son-in-law of Prathap Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals, one of the largest private hospital groups in the country.
Interestingly while Vishweshwar Reddy is contesting as a candidate of TRS, his in-laws are from Seemandhra. His wife Sangita Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals, is actively campaigning to seek the support of migrants from Seemandhra, who constitute a sizable number of nearly 2.2 million voters in the constituency.
TRS is perceived by many as a party targeting Seemandhra people living in Hyderabad but Vishweshwar Reddy does not agree with this.
"The issue is only with certain people who have got illegal jobs and lands here. In fact our family is the best example; even if the state is divided, people are together."
Vishweshwar Reddy is pitted against sons of two former home ministers. While P. Karthik Reddy, son of Sabitha Indra Reddy, is a Congress candidate, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has fielded Veerender Goud, son of T. Devender Goud.
Chevella was created in 2009 as a result of delimitation of constituencies. In the first election, the Congress party's S. Jaipal Reddy defeated TDP's Jitender Reddy by 20,000 votes. Jaipal Reddy, a union minister, is now contesting from Mahabubnagar.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 27-04-2014)