Sixth President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, who was directly elected to the post from Lok Sabha Speakership, had created many records. In fact, he was Speaker twice — in 1967 and in 1977.
Sanjiva Reddy was not only the first President elected during the non-Congress Janata regime in July 1977, but was also the only person to get elected unopposed, after being unanimously sponsored by all parties, including the Congress alliance. The poll was held just a few months after the Emergency was lifted.
Moreover, he was the youngest to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan — he was barely 65 years of age when he took charge. R. Venkataraman and K.R. Narayanan were the oldest — they were around 77 years when they assumed office. Rajendra Prasad and Giani Zail Singh assumed office when they were 66. Fakhruddhi Ali Ahmed was 69 when he entered Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Zakir Hussain was 70 years, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 71, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan and Shankar Dayal Sharma 74, V.V. Giri 75 and present President Pratibha Patil 73 years when they took charge.
Another interesting record of Sanjiva Reddy is that he was the only serious contender for the post of President, who contested twice. He fought against Giri in August 1969 and in the 1977 election.
Sanjiva Reddy, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh, was elected as Speaker on March 17, 1967. He resigned from the post on July 19, 1969 to contest the Presidential election on the basis of his nomination as a nominee of the Congress filed by Indira Gandhi. It is alleged that after filing this nomination, Indira Gandhi subsequently organised his defeat in the election by “unethical means.”
He was away from politics for some time only to re-enter it on May 1, 1975. He fought the March 1977 Lok Sabha polls from Nandyal and was the only one to get elected from the State as a non-Congress candidate then.
He assumed office as Lok Sabha Speaker on March 26, 1977, only to resign a few months later to enter the Presidential poll fray.