The ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh has come a long way in 10 years’ time.
On Thursday, party leaders and cadres celebrated the occasion across the state, cutting many cakes to commemorate the occasion as the YSRCP entered its 11th year of existence.
Though it could not replicate the feat of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in coming power within nine months of establishment, YSRCP managed to do that in eight long years.
“Thanks to all the people and leaders who stood by me in this 10 year journey which had struggles and happiness,” said YSRCP founder and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Starting off with the powerful jumpstart it received from the legacy of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, YSRCP is now in a place where any political scion would want to land with his own political set up.
“My congratulations to all the party leaders and activists on the occasion of the 11th formation day of YSRCP, which was born to achieve the ideals of Y.S. Raja Sekhar Reddy and from the desire of crores of people,” said senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijayasai Reddy V.
He said the motive behind forming a political party was serving everybody in the society, and highlighted that nearly Rs 80,000 crore welfare activities have been done within 20 month of coming to power.
It was the welfare plank with schemes such as Aarogysri, 108 ambulance and others which powered Raja Sekhar Reddy to a great extent and also aided by his powerful persona. It should also be noted that he ruled only for five years but left a lasting impression.
Aarogyasri was such a stellar scheme which penetrated into the masses by providing health insurance cover to the poorest of the people who could never afford corporate hospital treatments.
For instance, a manual labourer who used to carry heavy sacks went to Care Hospital on Road No. 1 Banjara Hills in Hyderabad to freely undergo a surgery worth Rs 2 lakh back in 2007 itself.
And the 108 ambulance went onto become a mainstay in the public minds to seek immediate first aid whenever somebody met with an accident to later shift them to a bigger hospital for proper treatment.
Though Jagan Mohan Reddy and YSRCP are enjoying fruits of 10 years labour now, the beginning of the party’s journey was one rocky ride riddled with many hindrances and storms, all of which were patients weathered.
After the unfortunate and untimely death of Rajasekhar Reddy on September 2, 2009, within the initial months of his second term as CM, his son Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy found himself cornered by his own Congress partymen within a short time, except for family members, some loyal leaders and politicians and also a large number of Rajasekhar Reddy admirers and supporters across the southern state.
People who even feared to stand in front of Rajasekhar Reddy when he was alive, started to openly attack the leader and his legacy in his absence and alleged massive corruption on him and his son.
One fine day, a former chief minister alleged that Jagan Mohan Reddy indulged in large scale corruption and created the myth that his ill-gotten assets were worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore.
This point was picked up by most of the media houses and profusely publicised for years together, without following due diligence or due process.
Many years later, after all the damage was done, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer, V.V. Lakshminarayana, who headed the probe on Jagan Mohan Reddy himself admitted in an interview with journalist Sai that the value of corruption allegations levelled against him were worth around Rs 2,000 crore and not Rs 1 lakh crore.
Whether Jagan Mohan Reddy indulged in corruption or not is the duty of the probe agencies to prove and establish the facts, which is still underway.
After a 2009 meeting in Kurnool where Jagan Mohan Reddy promised that he would meet the families of all the 600 people who died following Rajasekhar Reddy’s death as they could not bear his loss, Jagan Mohan Reddy did launch his Odarpuyatra (tour to console) and started meeting those families, earning the ire of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in the process.
Disagreements over Odarpuyatra led to the Congress party hounding Jagan Mohan Reddy and family members, such as imprisoning him for several months without a charge sheet, openly checking the belongings of his mother Y.S. Vijayamma on the middle of a road during their political tours and several other forms of harassment.
As her son was put in jail, Vijayamma and her daughter Sharmila chipped in to protect the legacy of Raja Sekhar Reddy and continue the fight political journey started by Jagan Mohan Reddy.
On being released from jail after 16 months in September 2013, he only had seven months to put up his fight for the 2014 elections, which took place in the background of the hurried bifurcation of the united Andhra Pradesh.
Though Sonia Gandhi dreamed of reaping rich political dividends at least in Telangana by splitting the state, that move backfired as K. Chandrasekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party stormed to power in India’s newest state and her parochial miscalculations wiped off Congress from Andhra Pradesh, from where she enjoyed the election of 33 MPs in 2009 polls, powered by Raja Sekhar Reddy’s acumen.
Not only in Andhra Pradesh, the Congress is in a sorry state of affairs even in Telangana for the past seven years.
After losing in the 2014 elections, Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP won a landslide majority in 2019 polls, enabled by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s 3,000 km ‘padayatra’ and other favourable factors.
In the recent Panchayat polls, the regional party continued its good show by grabbing more than 80 per cent Sarpanch posts and is confidently waiting for the urban local bodies polls results on Sunday, whose initial vote count patterns are indicating a repeat of the Panchayat polls results.
Another commendable aspect of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s reign is the care he is showing on the upcoming generations of the state by heavily investing on education. He already stated that young children are the future of the state and he will invest in their education.
Though the winning show is impressive, the YSRCP government has the herculean task of reviving the majorly agrarian state’s economy crippled by the coronavirus.
The coming years will tell more about these challenges while the party is rock steady now