Telugu Leaders Have Fought Naxals, Islamists — Bandi Sanjay Was A Natural Choice For MoS Home Affairs

Sharan Setty

Jun 11, 2024, 02:05 PM | Updated 02:05 PM IST

L to R: Kasu Brahmananda Reddy, PV Narasimha Rao, P Venkatasubbaiah, C Vidyasagar Rao, G Kishan Reddy and Bandi Sanjay Kumar.
L to R: Kasu Brahmananda Reddy, PV Narasimha Rao, P Venkatasubbaiah, C Vidyasagar Rao, G Kishan Reddy and Bandi Sanjay Kumar.
  • Telugu leaders have successfully confronted Naxals and Islamists in the past, making Bandi Sanjay Kumar an ideal candidate for MoS Home Affairs.
  • Across parties, Telugus have been entrusted time and again with taking care of the internal affairs of India.

    Kasu Brahmananda Reddy was the first Telugu leader to become the union minister for home affairs under prime minister Indira Gandhi's rule between 1974 and 1977. He is remembered for having brought industrial infrastructure to Hyderabad and established several defence establishments such as Bharath Dynamics and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI).

    During his tenure as the chief minister of (undivided) Andhra Pradesh, he was instrumental (along with his home minister Jalagam Vengal Rao) in suppressing the Naxal movement in the coastal region of the state.

    It is another matter that he was clueless about Indira Gandhi's plan to declare the Emergency and later went on to expel her from the party. But that aside, Reddy was credited for keeping Andhra united in the face of the 1969 Telangana Agitation.

    In the process though, he is accused of using brute force, which led to many people, including students, being killed in police firings and thousands of women being arrested.

    Former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao also served as the Union home minister under two leaders — Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

    Another senior leader, Pendekanti Venkatasubbaiah also served as the minister of state (MoS) for home under prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

    In more recent years, C Vidyasagar Rao — serving as the MoS home affairs under the prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government — is an example of Telugu leaders put in charge of internal security. He was there for more than four years as MoS home under Lal Krishna Advani.

    A lifelong Sangh man, Vidyasagar Rao was a student at Osmania University. After starting as an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activist, Rao was elected three times to the AP assembly as a Jan Sangh leader.

    In the 1970s, he faced threats from Naxalites in Andhra, but that did not deter him from embracing the saffron.

    Most recently, G Kishan Reddy — an old acquaintance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also served as MoS Home Affairs under Amit Shah.

    With the cabinet portfolios being announced yesterday (10 June), it should come as no surprise that Bandi Sanjay Kumar was appointed MoS Home Affairs. In the past, he has been vocal against Islamist terror and left wing extremism (LWE).

    With Andhra Pradesh and Telangana having a history of Islamist violence under the Nizam rule and then facing LWE as it borders Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Telugu leaders are perhaps more aware of issues of internal security than anyone else in the south.

    From Kasu Brahmananda Reddy and P V Narasimha Rao to G Kishan Reddy and Bandi Sanjay Kumar, the faith of many governments has been placed on Telugu biddas to handle home affairs efficiently.

    Sharan Setty (Sharan K A) is an Associate Editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @sharansetty2.

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