Wednesday, October 20, 2021

MLA Shanampudi Saidi Reddy: The Surrey Connection

By Petrina D’Souza, 29 Jan, 2020

    The former owner of Mayuri Restaurant in Surrey is now the MLA for Huzurnagar constituency in Telangana state in India.

    Shanampudi Saidi Reddy has led a very interesting and passionate journey. He moved to Canada in 2005 with his wife and first born, after a stop-over in Jamaica for few years to work for United Nations Organisation (UNO). After a year of working small jobs and as an IT professional in Canada, he started Mayuri Indian Cuisine, a vegetarian South Indian restaurant in Surrey, BC. Mayuri’s authentic and delicious food made it “one of the top successful restaurants in Surrey,” proudly states Saidi Reddy, “From that time onwards my wife and I started our career in Canada as restaurant owners.” Saidi Reddy fondly mentions his wife’s (still the owner of Mayuri) continuous support in all his endeavours throughout his married life.

    Despite his successful journey in Canada, Saidi Reddy’s mind was still on the development of India and his fellow people in Telangana state. He would visit India every year and use his time there to get involved in social service in the community. Yet he wanted to do more, to tackle the problem that Telangana faces on a grassroots level.

    Once Telangana became an official state in 2014, Saidi Reddy decided that it was time to “do something for my state, people and villages.” He moved back to India and co-started an organization called RISE - Rural Institute of Skill Empowerment – to empower youth. Seeing majority of graduated and well-educated youth without employment, Saidi Reddy used RISE as a platform to support youth with jobs. “Seeing how we have institutes like BCIT and Skilled Work and Employment programs in Canada, I started working with youth in Telangana through RISE. Until now we have employed over 4,000 youth in different trades. We trained them and placed them in different skilled jobs,” explains Saidi Reddy, the current MLA of Huzurnagar constituency in Telangana.

    Saidi Reddy’s venture into politics was not a planned move. It was his desire to see India and Telangana developed that led him to the political path. There were a few factors that encouraged him to run for the MLA election. Firstly, his parents had been sarpanch (decision-maker) of the village he grew up in. Also, his father Ankireddy was a well-known active social worker who fought for his area development and empowerment. That had inspired Saidireddy to start Ankireddy Foundation to serve the needy people of the area. “I knew the issues in my village and surroundings, how the poor are fighting for their livelihood. I knew that from day one.”

    Secondly, he had witnessed first-hand how developing countries function through his residency in Canada and his former work at the UNO. “I knew what issues a developing country faces and how developed countries are doing well,” shares Saidi Reddy. Additionally, in Canada he learnt a lot about humanity and kindness and reacting to problems. “Any bad thing happens in the world, the first person to react is a Canadian. That makes me really feel proud of being a Canadian. It made me question myself on what I should do for India as an Indian-born and bred and having seen the problems in the country.”

    Lastly and most importantly, Saidi Reddy was inspired to follow the footsteps of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) who started the TRS party. Saidi Reddy points out that TRS “is not just a party but a movement. He started it to benefit Telangana people. Water, employment and funds – we are not getting these three things in the same share as Andhra people. He knew the core issue, problems and why people are suffering, and what we can do to make their life better.” All these factors inspired Saidi Reddy to serve his native motherland further, thus he reinstated his Indian citizenship by sacrificing his Canadian citizenship. This would open more opportunities to serve the people of his land.

    CM KCR believed in Saidi Reddy and gave him a seat in Huzurnagar assembly constituency. In October 2019, he won the election with a huge majority of more than 20 per cent margin and became the MLA of Huzurnagar constituency in Telangana. MLA Saidi Reddy mentions that in his constituency, out of 245,000 voters, 35,000- 40,000 voters are below 29 years of age. “We have about 140 villages and two municipalities in my constituency,” says the dedicated MLA, “During my campaign and even before that, I went to each village and municipality five to 10 times to meet people, to know the problems, and help them with solutions. That’s how I worked morning to evening with people. It made me a part of them and people invited me and considered me and my family as their own.”

    As an MLA, Saidi Reddy is working towards youth employment, women empowerment and water irrigation. Talking about irrigation, he says that “About 40 per cent fields don’t have enough water for irrigation. That is my main focus. My entire government is pro-farming and pro-agriculture and we are planning to do water irrigation and build good infrastructure as most villages don’t have proper drains or roads in the region.” The Huzurnagar MLA adds that he “has received Rs. 100 crore funding from the CM for his constituency and municipalities.”

    In conclusion, MLA Saidi Reddy says he has major plans for Huzurnagar and Telangana. “I will follow my CM and work for youth. I want to work more and bring a change in politics. I want to create advisory groups and work together everywhere. We want to set an example in the political scenario. I will develop Huzurnagar region as a model constituency for the whole country, which would inspire many youth and NRIs to serve their motherland.”

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