From a humble foot soldier in the Janata Party in 1977 to being promoted to minister of tourism and culture, life has come full circle for G. Kishan Reddy. A Parliamentarian from Secunderabad, Reddy has been the BJP’s pointsman for decades in undivided Andhra Pradesh and now Telagana.
Born in Timmapur village in Telagana’s Rangareddy district, the 57-year-old joined the BJP after it was formed in 1980 and became treasurer of the state unit of the Yuva Morcha, the party’s youth wing in 1982. Having held various positions in the organisation, including those of secretary and president in Andhra Pradesh, Reddy became its national secretary in 1990 and was given additional charge of south India. He rose to become vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1992.
A firebrand leader, Reddy was at the forefront of the Telangana agitation in undivided Andhra Pradesh, rejuvenating the movement when it had seemingly died down with his 25-day Telangana Poru Yatra in 2012. During a 25-day period, Reddy covered 3,500 km, visited 986 villages in Assembly 88 constituencies and addressed 333 meetings.
He was already a two-time MLA in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly when he undertook the yatra and when the state was eventually divided into two, the BJP rewarded him by making him president of the party’s state unit. He was also a member of Telegana’s first legislative Assembly.
With his elevation from Union minister of state for home, Reddy becomes the first person from Telangana to hold a Cabinet rank. He will also hold the minister of development of north eastern region portfolio. As tourism minister, Reddy will have to negotiate the significant impact that Covid-19 has had on travelling in India, especially those of foreigners, and return it to the being one of the most sought-after destinations. Reddy has promised his best efforts to live up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expectations and strengthen his vision for a new India.
Both Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah view Reddy as the party’s face in Telangana. With elections to the state Assembly coming up in 2023, his elevation could mean that the BJP is readying him for a bigger role in the state if it manages to overcome the formidable Telangana Rashtra Samithi led by K. Chandrashekar Rao.