Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

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Neelam Sanjiva Reddy(Telugu: నీలం సంజీవరెడ్డి) (May 19, 1913June 1, 1996) was the sixth and youngest ever President of India, serving from 1977 to 1982. Over the course of a long political career, he held several key offices, as the first and two-time Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, a two-time Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Union Minister. He remains the only person to be elected to the office of the President of India unopposed.


  • Despite perplexing diversities, our people retain a remarkable dynamism and spirit of adventure. Our resilience springs from our well-established traditions of patience and perseverance, tolerance and compassion... and it is to this eternal and immortal India that we rededicate ourselves today.
    • In: Pranab Mukherjee "Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the concluding function of the centenary celebrations of the former President of India, Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy"
  • The President of India is the constitutional head , who has no policy and programme of his own. It is the Government of the day which chooses the policy and programme to be pursued within the framework of the constitution…[would] protect and defend the Constitution.
  • Unless the choice was unanimous, he would not throw in the towel.
    • About his contesting for the Presidential elections in: "Presidents of India, 1950-2003", p. 138
  • Madame Prime Minister [Indira Gandhi] do not mislead the house or the Honorable Member. The speaker has no hand to sending the Members of Parliament. He only comes to know from the news papers the next day as to which delegation is going outside the country. It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister has unnecessarily dragged the name of the speaker in the matter.
    • His retort to Indira Gandhi’s reply “Sir, the names are selected by the Speaker, and the names which are selected by the speaker are sent as delegation outside the country” in response to a Member’s question “Mr. Speaker, I have been a Member of Parliament for quite a long time; Prime Minister has never sent me in any delegation so far; those who lick her feet they are sent in the delegation outside the country in: Dr. Janak Raj Jai "Presidents of India, 1950-2003", p. 130
  • The Speaker is seen, but not heard and the President is neither seen nor heard. He would very much would a President who is neither seen nor heard, but who decides. I would like to do something silently.
    • His statement on assuming office of President in: Dr. Janak Raj Jai "Presidents of India, 1950-2003", P.140

Commissions and Omissions by Indian Prime Ministers, Volume 1


Janak Raj Jai Commissions and Omissions by Indian Prime Ministers, Volume 1, Daya Books, 1996

  • In June 1977 or thereabouts, while I was still Speaker of the Lok Sabha, I wanted to go to Bombay during a weekend to call on Jayaprakash Narayan who had come back from the United States after medical treatment. I thought I might mention the matter to Prime Minister, Morarji Desai. His reaction was uncharitable to Jayaprakash Narayan as it was unworthy of him. He asked me if it was really necessary for me to “Lionize” JP. It is an admitted fact that JP’s prominent role in bringing opposition parties together under one banner was widely acknowledged. It was also well-known that JP had been instrumental in Desai’s becoming Prime Minister
    • In: P.236
  • I recalled to him [Morarji Desai] our long association in the freedom movement and after and how I always treated him as an elder brother. I pointed out, however, that in the national interest a distinction had to be maintained between personal relationship and public responsibilities in the discharge of our duties. I referred to the growing disenchantment and disillusionment of our people
    • On his differences with the Prime Minister Morarji Desai, in: p. 237

About Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

  • He was not a weak president and he did indulge in politics. He cautioned Prime Minister Morarji Desai on appointment of V.Shankar as principal secretary, Further, he vetoed the outgoing Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s proposal for a broadcast to the nation after his resignation from the post. He also warned the caretaker Charan Singh government not to take any major policy decision.

Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the concluding function of the centenary celebrations of the former President of India, Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy


Press Information Bureau in: Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the concluding function of the centenary celebrations of the former President of India, Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Press Information Bureau, Government of India President's Secretariat.

  • He was a true son of the soil and a farmer till his very last breath. His birth took place in a farming community in Illuru in May 1913 of the district of Ananthapuramu, which is also the working place of one of India’s most revered philosophers and former President Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan.
  • As Speaker, he admitted for the first time, a No-Confidence Motion to be taken up for discussion on the same day as the President's address to a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament. He believed that urgent matters should not be delayed by taking recourse to traditions and precedents. It was during his tenure as Speaker that for the first time in the history of the Lok Sabha, the House sentenced a person to imprisonment for committing contempt of the House by shouting slogans and throwing pamphlets on the floor of the House from the Visitors' Gallery.
  • He was the main architect of modern day Andhra Pradesh. As early as 1951, he was elected President of the Andhra Pradesh Congress... He took on his broad shoulders the burden of finding solutions to the problems of administration and integration that arose at the birth of this state. This experience enabled him provide effective leadership as the first Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh, following incorporation of Telengana into the state as part of Linguistic Reorganisation. He served as Chief Minister in two spells for a total of over 5 years.
  • He combined three different qualities - those of a good party leader, Administrator and parliamentarian. He devoted a major part of his life in Congress Organization and shifted seamlessly from Organisation to Government and vice versa. He had no hesitation in giving up his Chief Ministership in 1960 on being elected President of the Indian National Congress, following Indira Gandhi. He went on to be elected President of the Indian National Congress thrice consecutively at its Bangalore, Bhavnagar and Patna sessions from 1960 to 1962.
  • He applied himself with vigour to the development and modernisation of his State and the progress of its people. He is credited with giving shape to the plans for construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar, the Srisailam Project, the Sriram Sagar and the Vamsadhara projects which are, among the most important milestones in the development of this region. If today, Andhra Pradesh is hailed as the granary of South India, much credit is due to him.
  • He was greatly admired for his dignity in word and deed as well as his iron will in taking decisions and implementing them. In 1964, he displayed high standards in public life by resigning as Chief Minister, following adverse remarks by the Supreme Court against the Government of Andhra Pradesh for not filing an affidavit in the Bus routes nationalisation case.
  • His tenure as President was a period of unparelled political turmoil and saw him swear in three governments led by Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi. He took historic decisions on a number of important issues. By virtue of his long years in public life and close association with leaders from all sections of opinion, he was able to be a steady hand at the wheel of state. His wisdom, friendliness and accessibility endeared him to people belonging to all walks of life. He lent distinction to the highest office of the land by his idealism and patriotism.
  • He had great compassion for the poor. He often voiced disquiet over the fact that minimum standards of nutrition, clothing, shelter, medical care and education were beyond the reach of many sections of the people of India and called for determined efforts to address these deficiencies. He was also deeply concerned about the weakening of traditional values that have enabled diverse Indians live together in peace for centuries.

Presidents of India, 1950-2003


Dr.Janak Raj Jai, in: Presidents of India, 1950-2003, Daya Books, 1 January 2003

  • As Speaker of the Lok Sabha he brought glory to the house of the people. He had been one of the most successful speakers of the Lok Sabha. Humour and wit had always been his close friends. And he could tackle all the difficult situations in a very tactful manner. He always tried to act as an independent speaker, even though politically he belonged to the ruling party. i.e. the Congress party.
    • In: p. 130
  • After he resigned from the post of Speaker in July 1969, to contest the office of the President, he was an official candidate for the Congress Party. But this election created a history on the Indian Political scene. The Congress was split into two; the Congress candidate was defeated by the congress itself and an independent candidate [V.V.Giri] in his place was elected.
    • In: P.131
  • After the turmoil in the Congress Party, he chose to retire to home town Anantpur, and devoted most of his time to agriculture, which had always been very dear to him, as he belonged to the peasantry family. For quite some time he remained in wilderness, and had been buying time for an appropriate opportunity to re-netter politics.
    • In: P.135
  • He having been defeated in the year 1969, became the President of this great country, on 21 July 1977. He was perhaps the first President who had the good fortune of having been appointed unopposed, whereas all other incumbents had to face contest for this office.
    • In: P.139
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