81-year-old ‘Peddayana’ in fray proves age is just a number

Varadarajulu Reddy is contesting the elections for the eighth time from Proddatur on a TDP ticket

May 01, 2024 07:21 am | Updated 07:21 am IST - KADAPA

TDP candidate Nandyala Varadarajulu Reddy taking part in a campaign in Proddatur Assembly constituency of Kadapa district.

TDP candidate Nandyala Varadarajulu Reddy taking part in a campaign in Proddatur Assembly constituency of Kadapa district.

He is the senior-most in the fray. At 81 years, Nandyala Varadarajulu Reddy is being hailed as a man of grit, having contested several elections and witnessing key political developments in the State over the past few decades.

Fondly referred to as the ‘Peddayana of Proddatur’, he is known for his unrelenting fighting spirit in every election, whose chequered political experience spanning 43 years is marked by successes and defeats.

Born to Nandyala Pedda Varada Reddy and Nandyala Sumitramma on November 12, 1942, Mr. Varadarajulu Reddy studied SSLC and served in the Revenue Department for 18 years.

His foray into politics started in 1981 when he contested in vain as the ‘samithi president’ against Settipalle Raghurami Reddy. In the 1983 general elections, he contested the Proddatur Assembly elections as an independent candidate and was defeated by M.V. Ramana Reddy of the TDP.

With a ‘never-say-die’ attitude, Mr. Varadarajulu Reddy contested as TDP candidate in 1985 and defeated the same M.V. Ramana Reddy, who now contested on behalf of Rayalaseema Vimochana Samithi. Continuing his winning streak, he romped home on a Congress ticket in 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004, making a mark by entering the Assembly five times in a row. In 2009, he was defeated by TDP’s Mallela Linga Reddy.

A staunch opponent of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Varadarajulu Reddy quit Congress and contested the 2014 elections on a TDP ticket, only to be defeated by YSRCP’s Rachamallu Sivaprasad Reddy, the sitting MLA. He refrained from contesting in 2019 and supported TDP candidate Linga Reddy, who was also swept away in the ‘Jagan wave’.

Having worked on the ground for the last five years, Mr. Varadarajulu Reddy is ready for a showdown once again. In a fitting retort to MLA Sivaprasad Reddy, who recently took a dig at his age, the ‘Peddayana’ challenged him for a speed walk from Sivalayam centre to bus station, a prominent stretch in Proddatur town.

With the scorching sun wearing down even agile campaigners, the elderly politician is briskly moving around the constituency, showing little signs of fatigue despite his age. “He is a source of inspiration for our young men, who are struggling to match his pace,” says his son-in-law M. Ramachandra Reddy, who is looking after his campaign.

“There is no looking back. I am going to win this time,” Mr. Varadarajulu Reddy told The Hindu, with a confident smile.

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