Anantapuram (AP): President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said former president Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy`s message that it was important for Indians to work together to build independent India into a modern nation was relevant even now as the society was faced with many challenges.
"Dr Reddy`s message continues to be of relevance today as we confront the challenges that our society is facing. They remind us of the important responsibility we have as citizens of India," Mukherjee said, addressing the valedictory ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of Sanjeeva Reddy here.
He hailed Reddy as a role model in government and politics and one whom Indian history would always remember for the crucial role he played in important turning points in contemporary politics.
"Dr Reddy was a man with many records to his credit. He was the youngest President of India, serving from 1977 to 1982. He was the only person to have been Chief Minister (of Andhra Pradesh), Speaker of Lok Sabha and President of India. He was also the main architect of modern day Andhra Pradesh," Mukherjee recalled.
"He devoted a major part of his life to party work and shifted seamlessly between party and government. He was greatly admired for his dignity in word and deed as well as his iron will in taking decisions and implementing them," the President noted.
He said that Dr Reddy`s tenure as President was a period of "unparallelled 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, Dr Reddy was able to be a steady hand at the wheel of the state. He lent distinction to the highest office of the land by his idealism and patriotism," the President said.
As the first Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh, Dr Reddy "applied himself with vigour" to the development and modernisation of the state and the progress of its people.
"He is credited with giving shape to plans for construction of Nagarjuna Sagar, Srisailam, Sriram Sagar and Vamsadhara irrigation projects that are among the most important milestones in the development of the region," the President added.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, and others were present.