Congressman yearns for recognition

Heydays: Veteran Congressman R.K. Rajarathnam and his family members with late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she visited his house on February 2, 1978.  

R.K. Rajarathnam, 78, is hopeful that the party will at least recognise his services now and nominate him either as Governor or chairman of a Central undertaking

HYDERABAD: “Everyone who stayed in my house in Madanapalle on February 2, 1978, including late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi prospered, except me,” bemoans R.K. Rajarathnam, a veteran Congressman, who went on to become vice-president and treasurer of the Chittoor DCC.

He recalls Indira’s five-hour stay from 4 a.m. at his house during a study tour of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, following a split in the party after the post-Emergency debacle. It was during the stay that she had opted for the party symbol of ‘hand’ after receiving a communication from party leaders in New Delhi, he told The Hindu. On the same day, Mr. Rajarathnam joined the Congress and went on to occupy the Chittoor DCC posts.

“M. Channa Reddy, P. V. Narasimha Rao, G. Rajaram and N. Amaranth Reddy, who were present in my house then, went on to hold high positions, whereas I have been neglected though it was I who suggested to Indira Gandhi to opt for the hand symbol. I also had to pay the price for sheltering Indira Gandhi as vandals attacked my house,” he says.

The veteran Congressman also recalls that even N. Chandrababu Naidu, who later joined the Telugu Desam and occupied the Chief Minister’s post for nine years, was inducted into the Congress also in his house in the late 70s.

At 78, Mr. Rajarathnam is hopeful that the party will at least now recognise his services and nominate him either as Governor or chairman of a Central undertaking. He had represented to AICC Sonia Gandhi on November 14 last year and is awaiting a word from the party.