It is an accomplishment of epic proportions, one that has no precedent in the country. When Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and YSRCP Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy reaches the 3000-km landmark today, he will script history.
YS Jagan set out nearly a year ago in the winter of 2017, on November 6, to be precise, from Idupulapaya in Dr. YSR District after paying homage to his father’s memory, on his mass contact initiative, Praja Sankalpa Yatra.
The YSR Congress Party chief’s mission is two-fold, to understand the problems of the people on a day-to-day basis under the Telugu Desam government and to draw their attention to the corrupt practices and maladministration of Chandrababu Naidu.
The AP leader of Opposition is seeking to gain a deep understanding of the issues which people face in everyday life today, so that his model of welfare governance, like that of his father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, can be based on the Navarathnalu designed to address all the problems plaguing the state.
YS Jagan’s Praja Sankalpa Yatra has coursed through a staggering 1650 villages and 44 municipalities so far. He has stopped and interacted with people everywhere learning about their problems and striving to address them. He has sought their suggestions wherever he has gone.
Thus far, the YSR Congress party chief has covered 193 mandals in 116 constituencies of the state of the 125 assembly constituencies he intends to visit as part of his historic walkathon. YS Jagan has conducted 106 public meetings where he spoke extensively about local issues as well as the fight for justice to the state including achieving special category status to Andhra Pradesh. He has interacted closely with various groups and communities in 41 sessions, where he discussed the problems and issues related to them and assured them of justice under Rajanna Rajyam.
In the 11 districts he has covered so far, YS Jagan has highlighted the failures of the Telugu Desam government led by Chandrababu Naidu. He has pointed out to people everywhere, how the government had cheated the masses on various counts, be it loan waivers to farmers and DWCRA women’s groups, pensions to widows and the aged, the narrowing down of the scope of Arogyasri and fee reimbursement scheme, and rising unemployment, among other things.
The YSRCP chief brought out facts on rampant corruption in the TDP government under Chandrababu Naidu and placed them before the people. Polavaram, Pattiseema, stand as symbols of TDP corruption, he pointed out to people of the state at every point during the course of his Padayatra.
What has distinguished YS Jagan’s Padayatra and public meetings from those of other run-of-the-mill politicians, is the spontaneous, overwhelming groundswell of popular support he has received everywhere right from Idupulapaya in Dr. YSR District to Desipatrunipalem in Vizianagaram district, which marks the 3000 km milestone. It is a historic mass outreach program for a range of factors which are of political significance.
YS Jagan is following in the footsteps of his father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy whose legendary walkathon, Praja Prasthanam, in 2003 helped the Congress party come to power in the elections in 2004 in undivided Andhra Pradesh. More importantly, Dr YSR walked through the state beginning his Padayatra in Ranga Reddy district all the way to Ichapuram in Srikakulam district. Along every step of the way, Dr YSR interacted with the people and gained a deep insight into their problems.
Dr YSR could therefore devise a welfare governance model which became something worthy of emulation by many states across the country back then. His pioneering healthcare initiative, Arogyasri, proved to be boon to the poor of the state granting them access to the best of corporate healthcare.
Similarly, Dr. YSR’s fee reimbursement scheme empowered the weakest of the weak with education. His thrust on taking care of farmers’ needs through Jalayagnam, a statewide network of irrigation projects, 24 x 7 free power supply and loan waivers, made him a legend in his lifetime. Dr. YSR’s daughter and YS Jagan’s sister also undertook a taxing walkathon, Maro Praja Prasthanam, spanning nine months across the entire state of undivided Andhra Pradesh, covering 3,112 km, 116 assembly constituencies and ending at the same place, Ichapuram in Srikakulam District.
In YS Jagan, the people of Andhra Pradesh see the same hope which his father had offered them. They know that his Navarathnalu is predicated on the same model of welfare governance which Dr YSR had provided.
Be it farmers, women, students and the unemployed, minorities and BC/SC/ST communities across the state, YS Jagan has endeared himself to all of them with his down-to-earth approach. If there is one stand-out quality in him which appeals to them it is his sincerity. YS Jagan has repeatedly stated that he would strive with integrity and will not make unrealistic promises compromising his credibility to gain power, in the crass manner in which Chandrababu Naidu did in 2014.
In the hands of a young, energetic leader endowed with vision, commitment and sincerity, the people of the state see the sunrise state of Andhra Pradesh attaining its true potential in the months and years to come.
The YSR Congress party chief has told people everywhere that he would take two steps in their service if his late father took one. In other words, he has assured people all over the state that he would walk the extra mile for them to ensure the all-round development of Andhra Pradesh. In walking through the length and breadth of the state, lending a patient ear to every single individual, woman, child, the elderly, unemployed, or the disabled, among others, YS Jagan has walked into the hearths and homes of the people of Andhra Pradesh. Like his father, he has not only secured himself of a place in history, but also in the hearts of the people of the state.