Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday described former Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy as "a dear friend", "a brilliant parliamentarian", "a treasure of wisdom and knowledge" and "an eloquent orator, writer and scholar" who was not there anymore to give his "invaluable advice and guidance" in this "time of adversities".
Speaking at a memorial meeting here to pay homage to Reddy who passed away last month, Singh also said that the late leader was a staunch supporter of separate statehood for Telangana and "played a silent yet crucial role" in convincing the leaders towards taking the historic decision of dividing Andhra Pradesh and granting statehood for Telangana in 2014.
Singh said he feels saddened to think that Reddy "is not among us today at this time of great difficulty".
"I take this opportunity to pay my tributes to my dear friend Jaipal Reddyji who is no more among us to give us his invaluable advice and guidance during this time of adversities," he said.
Singh said in Reddy's death, Indian politics has lost a brilliant parliamentarian, who packed his speeches with wit, criticism and in-depth information.
"Jaipal Reddyji was a treasure of wisdom and knowledge. He was my colleague in my Cabinet for ten years and a law-maker for 45 years," he said.
Singh said Reddy was an intellectual who described himself as "a proud Nehruvian Socialist".
"A politician with a difference, he was an eloquent orator, a writer, a scholar and a witty speaker. He started as a student activist, rose to become president of Indian Youth Congress from Andhra Pradesh, and then plunged into national politics braving polio among a host of other challenges," Singh said.
He said the late leader, who hailed from a backward village in Mahabubnagar in Telangana, was in the national arena for over four decades. He won four assembly polls, five Lok Sabha elections, two Rajya Sabha terms and served in the Cabinet of four Union governments.
Reddy, he said, was "a spotless leader" who never faced any charge of corruption or impropriety.
"In a political career spanning over 50 years, Jaipalji always stood for righteousness and always opposed anything which he felt was injustice or wrong," Singh said.
"Jaipalji was always known for standing by his principles and his ideology. He was somebody that people looked up to, both in the public and also within the Congress leadership, and (he) never minced words in expressing his opinion. As we all know, Jaipalji was also a very articulate parliamentarian, who always stuck by whatever decisions he took as a minister. Whether it pleased somebody or not, he always went according to his beliefs," he added.
Reddy held the petroleum portfolio in the UPA-II government and was shifted to science and technology ministry.
Singh said Reddy always expressed himself without compromising on his beliefs.
He said it was Reddy's farsightedness which was instrumental in bringing the Prasar Bharati Bill. "As Information and Broadcasting Minister, he piloted the Prasar Bharati Bill to give autonomy to Doordarshan and All India Radio," he said.
Reddy's journey, he said, was one of grit and determination, and he grew from a student leader in Osma University to become an MLA in undivided Andhra Pradesh and then a Parliamentarian and a Central Cabinet minister.
Singh said Reddy was very encouraging and supportive to other Parliamentarians and was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award.
"His fluency and vigour in both English and Telugu amazed the listeners, both his admirers as well as his critics.
Referring to Reddy's book "Ten Ideologies: The Great Asymmetry between Agrarism and Industrialism", he said it dealt with almost all the influential ideologies "of our times within the compass of a short book".
Singh said the book offers a perspective on entire human history, based not only on traditional materials but also on latest scientific findings.
( With inputs from ANI )