PEOPLE’S MAN: From IT Pro To Restaurateur In Surrey To His Ultimate Calling To Be The Ideal Politician In The Motherland

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By R. Paul Dhillon

Some dreams are just too big to say no to even though you’ve traveled abroad, the dreams of most Indians, worked for the UN as an IT pro and established a successful restaurant business in Canada, the best country in the world – so how do you go back to the motherland after accomplishing everything you set out to do when you left India.

For Mayuri Indian Cuisine owner Saidireddy Shanampudi, it was a desire to give back to his native Telangana, which not too long ago achieved independent state status, and to support the ideal, people oriented vision of his mentor K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), the Chief Minister of the state and his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader who brought his party to power.

Sanampudi, who goes by the moniker Saidi Reddy had long been courted to run for TRS and when he decided to give it a shot during the last state election late 2018 – it was not the political beginning he had envisioned, losing narrowly after a confusion of ballot symbols allowed his opponent to win.

But when your political destiny is written in stone, there is nothing that can keep you away from serving the people. And Saidi Reddy, who got the call again during a by-election in October 2019 after his opponent from the riding of Huzrnagar (Suryapet) decide to jump ship to the national political scene earlier in 2019, won by a 43,358 vote majority over Congress candidate Uttam Padmavathi Reddy on October 21.

Saidi Reddy, who was recently sworn in as Member of the State Legislative Assembly, accompanied by Home Minister Md Mahmood Ali, Legislative Affairs Minister V Prashant Reddy along with Power Minister G Jagadish Reddy who was among those who campaigned tirelessly for Saidi Reddy, Labour and Employment Minister Ch Malla Reddy and Excise and Tourism Minister V Srinivas Goud, Chairman of the State Legislative Council G Sukhender Reddy and several other TRS leaders, was back in his adopted homeland of Canada last week and met up with the LINK at his famous South Indian eatery Mayuri Indian Cuisine after devoting two years to his political ambitions in Telangana.

Saidi Reddy, a charming and very likeable if unassuming fellow, raved about the work his TRS party is doing in Telangana, which achieved independent state status in 2014, saying it was his mentor and party leader KCR who drew him into politics and it’s his vision that he supports in helping the common man achieve the best quality of life he or she can.

“I went into politics with three things in mind which is also the focus of our party – Youth, Women and Farmers – and that is what I’m focusing on, motivating youth and trying to weed out corruption,” Saidi Reddy told the LINK during an interview at Mayuri.

“Our Chief Minister is a visionary and pro-agriculture leader and his work in the state is proof of the aggressive action our government has taken to help farmers, including 10,000 rupees per acre to support farmers, the life blood of any state, nation or land,” Saidi Reddy said.

Other Indian agricultural states like Punjab can take lessons from Telangana on agricultural subsidies and support but also reduce corruption to focus resources and state energy to progressive causes like creating long term solutions or urgent matters like drinkable water, helping the poor and women to get a helping hand, including giving matching funds for the marriage of young women from poor backgrounds.

“KCR is truly a visionary leader and his work is being closely examined by other progressive governments. This is a man who planted millions of trees for a push towards greenery and better environment, gives 1 lakh per legal age marriage of young women, free lunch program for students and high quality of education in public schools and 20 lakhs scholarship to study abroad,” Saidi Reddy said with full pride in his party and leader.

For Saidi Reddy, it was a huge gamble to give up his Canadian citizenship to run for a political post in his home state but he got great support from his leader K Chandrashekar Rao, who allotted him the party ticket by ignoring the party in-charge Kasoju Shankaramma.

“I’m thankful to Rao Saab and his entire family, including his son KTR who is also a visionary like his father and the future for our party is very bright,” he said. “I’m very happy with the role I’m playing and my ideas are well received within the party and CM, who always holds me out as example to the other MLAs and Ministers.”

Saidi Reddy landed in Vancouver‌ in 2005 after quitting his job at UN population fund located in Caribbean to explore the opportunities Canada offered. He and his wife Rajithakatram settled in the Indo-Canadian dominated Surrey and shortly they opened up a very successful Mayuri Indian Cuisine.

Saidi Reddy kept working full time in RBC and running the restaurant with his wife till 2008 after which it became the talk of the town and the centre for the best South Indian food in Surrey. Asked why he chose Surrey and not Vancouver, Saidi Reddy has a simple answer.

“Being in Surrey worked out to be a blessing in disguise for us as people here love South Indian food, some of them have been coming regularly for so many years that I have witnessed little kids grow up and go to universities but they still come here to have authentic South Indian food” he said.

Mayuri is a pure vegetarian restaurant that has become famous with foodies from around the Metro Vancouver areas. They serve 30 types of delicious dosas and various South Indian dishes not to be found anywhere else.

Asked if he will ever consider reclaiming his Canadian citizenship and running for politics in Canada, Saidi Reddy said “probably not” with a smile. He added that he promised that if elected the development in Huzurnagar constituency will be his top priority along with better road connectivity to all the villages and hamlets in the constituency and that has been his singular focus not just after becoming MLA but for years he’s spent getting ready to lead his constituency.

“I apply the same principles of hard work, honest and service to politics that I applied when we opened Mayuri and I will continue to do that as I serve the people of Huzrnagar and Telangana,” said Saidi Reddy.