'Last Nizam' of united Andhra

 Four-time MLA Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy, who resigned as the 16th chief minister of the soon to be bifurcated Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, is known as a “guy with strong head” in his personal circles and as “jackpot CM” in political circles, though some of his opponents call him the “last nizam” in view of his “wayward” days.

Reddy, 53, was unanimously elected Speaker of the 13th Andhra Pradesh Assembly in June 2009, though he wanted to be in the Cabinet after having successfully functioned  as the chief whip in the first tenure of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy from 2004. But YSR chose his rival Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy as Forest Minister instead. He had “solidly defended YSR on Jagan issues raised by TDP,” but still he was out of the Cabinet.

Kiran’s family hails from Nagaripalle near Kalikiri in Chittoor district. He finished schooling in Hyderabad Public School and intermediate at St Josephs’ Junior College, Hyderabad. He studied B Com from Nizam College and LLB from University College of Law, Osmania University. He also attended Besant Theosophical High School in Madras (now Chennai) for some years.

His wife Radhika Reddy and children Nikhilesh Reddy and Neeharika Reddy are rumored to be Christians. Kiran claims to be more a Hyderabad than a Rayalaseema Reddy. “I am born and bred in Hyderabad,” an alumnus quotes Kiran. “He was the captain of the Hyderabad, India under-22, South Zone Universities and Osmania University cricket team. But he was always a 12th man and hardly played any serious match,” claim contemporaries.

Since he took over reins from ailing Rosiash on November 25, 2010, Kiran has been known to be a staunch high command man. In spite of his proximity to YSR family, he stayed away from Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. In fact, Jagan had revolted and resigned from the Congress only after the high command chose Kiran Kumar Reddy as the chief minister instead of giving him a chance after resignation of K Rosaiah. But sources in Delhi said Kiran made presentations of his social work and political career to Sonia Gandhi through the then finance minister P Chidambaram, who was a close friend of his father Amarnath Reddy. “Chidambaram is Kiran’s godfather,” says Congress MP V Hanumanth Rao.

Rosaiah had suggested Jagan’s name for the chief minister’s post to face the challenge of Telangana, senior AICC leader Gulam Nabi Azad had reportedly told to his aides. But Sonia Gandhi felt that Jagan was more defiant than his father YSR and chose Kiran instead. Now, the table has turned that Kiran has become more stubborn and defiant than even YSR, say local Cong leaders.

Kiran Kumar Reddy was elected to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1989 after his father N Amaranth Reddy’s (a contemporary of N Bhaskar Rai) death. He served as a member of the Public Undertakings Committee and Assurance Committee. He was elected to the state Assembly from Native Vayalpadu (Valmikipuram) in 1989, 1999 and 2004. He lost in 1994 in the NTR wave when the Congress was routed in the entire Chittoor district. He contested and won from Pileru in 2009 after his native village Valmikipuram was merged into Pileru constituency under delimitation.

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