Telugu Ambedkarite all set to become LS Speaker
Ch Sushil Rao in Hyderabad
For the Telugu Desam Party's Ganti Mohana Chandra Balayogi, who is the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition's consensus candidate for the Speaker's post, the rise to glory has been swift.
A confidant of Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Balayogi refused to join the Congress along with a breakaway TDP parliamentary group during the P V Narasimha Rao tenure.
He also backed Naidu during the 1995 TDP coup in which
its founder-president Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao was dislodged.
Born on October 1, 1952, in Yedurulanka village, near Mummidivaram of East Godavari district, Balayogi hails from an agricultural labourer's family.
Brought up by his sister in Kakinada -- his parents died at an early age -- he started his professional career as an advocate in the town. He was a member of the Kakinada Bar Association from 1980 to 1987 and in 1985 was selected to the post of first-class magistrate. He had even undergone training as munsif magistrate for two months before resigning to continue his legal profession.
The political plunge came in 1982, when NTR floated the Telugu Desam Party.
Belonging to the scheduled castes, Balayogi, like most Ambedkarites, publicly tore up the Manu Dharmashastram.
He contested the zilla parishad election in his district and became its chairman in the 1987 election.
While he held the post, the TDP leadership fielded him from the Amalapuram Lok Sabha constituency in 1991, when he defeated Congress stalwart K Krishnamurthy who had represented the constituency twice.
In 1996, Balayogi had to bite the dust. Former Union social welfare secretary K S R Murthy, who was fielded by the Congress, defeated him. Internal bickering in the TDP were said to be the cause for Balayogi's defeat.
On his election to the state assembly in September 1996,
Balayogi was inducted into the TDP ministry on December 19, 1996 and was allocated the higher education portfolio.
He quit the ministry in the wake of the 'EAMCET scam' (engineering and medical college admission test) last
year, but Naidu did not accept his resignation.
He avenged his earlier defeat at Murthy's hands in this election and was the only successful TDP candidate in the coastal belt -- from East Godavari to Nellore. He won the Amalapuram seat by 90,248 votes.
If his guru Y Ramakrishnudu is the speaker of the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly, the shishya is all set to scale greater heights -- as Speaker of the Lok Sabha. If he wins, he will be the second Telugu to hold the top post -- Neelam Sanjiva Reddy being the first.
Additional reportage: UNI
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