YSR Congress Party leader YS Sharmila Reddy who has proved to play a vital role in the party activities took time off from her hectic campaigning schedule to speak to Sakshi TV. In a freewheeling interview, she spoke about her role in the party, her brother YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, her views about the current political scenario in Andhra Pradesh and what the Party will offer if they win the AP Elections this 2019. The following are excerpts from a conversation she had with Priyadarshini Ram, Editor at Sakshi News.
Ram: How does it feel to be in the Elections Campaign fray after a long gap ?
YS Sharmila: Feels good. If you are referring to as why I had not come before, Jagan anna and my father never wanted to me to struggle too hard, just out of love for me. I wanted to be a doctor but my father said that it was too much of an effort so I didn’t. But with the current scenario in the state, and looking at the appalling state of affairs it is in, I have to come out and speak. Not as anybody's sister or daughter but as a commoner I have to speak, at least now.
Ram: You still haven’t got over your father's demise?
YS Sharmila:I won’t and neither has my mother and as a matter of fact even the people in the state have not got over his death. But just as the sun sets and rises , we must also move on with a hope , that Rajanna Rajyam will come and people should be happy.
Ram: It will be 10 years since Dr YSR passed away this September. It has been a long hard journey!
YS Sharmila: These 10 years have really been a testing period. He raised us without us knowing any difficulties. But more than 700 people died after getting to know of his untimely demise. Maybe they loved him more than we did. We wanted to thank so many families and express our gratitude. After Jagan Anna went to Nallamalla he had made a promise to those lakhs of people to be with them, but we didn't know the impact of that promise. The Congress high command didn't allow us to go and meet them and console them. They also tried to give a Central Minister post and if the term was over, they wanted to give him the Chief Minister post also. In the end when we didn't listen, they threatened to have us arrested. Jagan said that we had only two options- take their offer or stand by our word and face the consequence. This was going to be a tough path and we would encounter many hurdles ,he said , but we would have to keep our word. I feel we should follow the path of father, he said and we convinced our mother also.
He went ahead with Odarpu Yatra and cases were foisted on him within two days. We came out of the party and Jagan was jailed and we felt orphaned. Sonia Gandhi had no gratitude or humanity for my father who ushered the Congress win twice in the state. But we bore the insults silently and I had to go on the Padayatra.By God’s grace Jagan came back from Jail. Though the Telugu Desam party won by a minor margin, we lost the elections ,but we never lost hope. The focus was to uphold our promises.
Ram: What was the difference between the Padayatra which you did and the Padayatra that YS Jagan did?
YS Sharmila: My Padayatra was done to reassure the people of our availability and that we were there for them. Jagan Anna’s padayatra was to fight for change, to give them the strength that he was there for the people, and set the ball rolling for all of us to work together for the future.
Ram: In these five years what do you think about Chandrababu’s governance?
YS Sharmila :In my opinion it was an utter failure in all aspects! -Be it the failure in getting the SCS
- His double standard approach, U Turns , alliances with BJP and then the Congress
- Taking the package deal for the commission money
- His failure to build the capital city
- His selfish motive to make money out of the RS 2500 Crores which the Center gave for the capital development. Same thing with Polavaram project as well.
- Then he failed to clear the loan dues to the farmers which was around RS 85000 crores and he brought it down to Rs 24000 crores and even that he has not reimbursed
- Same is the case with DWCRA loan reimbursements for the women
- KG to PG education, Fees reimbursement, Arogyasri was removed
- Job for every household ...The list is endless and Chandrababu has failed in all facets.
Ram: What about Chandrababu’s alliance with the BJP and after four years he joined the Congress in Telangana...
YS Sharmila: He will do anything and will join forces with anybody. Who are Farooq Abdullah and Mamata Banarjee, why should he join them?
Ram: Do you think there will be any impact on elections by Chandrababu this time?
YS Sharmila: You can cheat one person at a time but you can’t cheat everyone at the same time, it’s impossible. People are aware of what he has done for the past 5 years and what he has delivered. Farmers, women, students, unemployed,Dalits, BCs... Everyone has been cheated by him. I think people have understood by now his true colours and this time they won’t give him the chance to be cheat them again.
Ram: We have seen YS Jagan as the leader of the opposition, how do you think his ruling will be if he becomes the Chief Minister?
YS Sharmila: We have seen him even before he was the leader of the opposition. People have been seeing him since the past ten years, how strong he was when our father passed away. They saw his commitment for his word, he didn’t show any despair even when he was arrested and jailed. After that we saw him as an Opposition leader and the struggle for the SCS was something no one could have done. If Jagan hadn’t committed to the SCS the whole thing would have fizzled away in Chandrababu’s hands. If he were to come to power he would work with his heart and soul, just like our father did and there is no doubt about that. He will prove himself to be the worthy son of Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Ram: What about the rumours about the tie-ups with the BJP and TRS?
YS Sharmila: It was Chandrababu who travelled with the BJP for four years and put the SCS up for stake. It is meaningless to say that we have an alliance with the BJP .If we did wouldn’t we have all his cases cleared ? There is nothing to read between the lines and there is no logic to this. It was Chandrababu who wanted to join with the TRS . People know what he did when Harikrishna died and just because he says it, that would not make it the truth. Jagan has been fighting single- handed from day one. We have no tie-ups with anyone or any party and we don’t need to also.
Ram: Now the Congress is saying that they will grant SCS?
YS Sharmila:If they wanted to they would have done it at the beginning itself. They were the ones who bifurcated the state, made new laws, then why hadn’t they given it then itself? There is no integrity and why should we believe in the Congress which was never for the SCS for the state anyways.
Ram: What about Chandrababu’s stance during the murder attempt on YS Jagan in Visakhapatnam Airport and how he tried to divert the case ?
YS Sharmila:The attack on YS Jagan was a planned one! The knife was in one hand but the conspiracy was planned by another. They only paid money but the real culprits are the ones who planned it. The whole thing was staged by the TDP , right from getting his job in the canteen,which was owned by a TDP aide, sneaking in the knife, aiming straight at the neck... Jagan was saved because of his timely action in lifting his shoulder up and moving back. This saved his life. If he hadn’t lifted his hand he would have cut a nerve and he would have surely died of excessive bleeding. But the TDP leaders were making fun of such a serious incident and tried to dismiss it as if nothing happened. This is nothing but cheap politics by Chandrababu .
Ram: YS Jagan had promulgated the Navartna’s three years ago. But now they are saying that he is repackaging it to disseminating it among the public and try and influence them .Isn’t this damaging for your party’s image?
YS Sharmila: Chandrababu is a copy cat and there is nothing original about his so called ideas. He made fun of my father’s free electricity scheme for the farmers, and he has copied most of the schemes which were successfully implemented by my father.To tell you the truth Chandrababu has failed in copying also ,he stays demoted and YS Jagan has been promoted in the same class. Now Chandrbabu is sitting in the backbench and copying Jagan’s policies and he will fail this time as he has no eligibility to pass at all.
Ram: How can you be so sure that Chandrababu can’t take these schemes into the public?
YS Sharmila:I can say that he will fail because you can copy the schemes but not the character. It is in Chandrababu’s character to cheat and try various methods to get back to power. But YS Jagan just for keeping his word resigned from his public post and stood against Sonia Gandhi to upkeep that promise.That is what character is all about. That is what courage is all about and it takes guts to be like YS Jagan.Chandrababu has made promises just to come to power and neither can he upkeep those promises.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s leadership is when he made all the 18 MLAs resign from the Congress and made them stand for elections even though he was in jail. My mother and I ensured that they win the elections which is a proof of his strong character. There is no comparison between both of them and Chandrababu can never match up with us.
Ram: You have lost so many members in your family. How do you manage the pain despite the tragedies?
YS Sharmila: We feel bad losing our close relatives.We know it was the TDP who killed my grandfather Raja Reddy , because he was my father’s strength. It was Chandrababu who gave them support . My father had more love than vengeance in him and after he had become the Chief Minister, I still remember how Chandrababu threatened my father saying that he would see how my father would enter the Assembly , just the day before he died. There is Chandrababu’s hand in my father’s death as well , and they murdered my uncle also recently. But both my father and brother believe that progress is more importance than revenge. And that we should put our lives to the service of mankind and then only our lives have a purpose and meaning.
Ram: The accusations didn’t stop with Jagan , they also spoke about your personal life. Are they destroying you?
YS Sharmila: It not about destroying me , they are causing deep hurt. I never paid attention to those cheap comments when they first broke it in 2014.This continued on Social Media. But I realized these rumours surfaced again now during the elections time. That’s when I felt that it was the Telugu Desam who was creating this false propaganda about me and even though it was a bit uncomfortable for me, I went ahead and filed a police case. As per police information there is a building in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad which is owned by Balakrishna and these rumours are emanating from there.This is based on the IP addresses traced by the police. The whole propaganda is doctored by the TDP and promoted by the pro-TDP people. It is the truth that Balakrishna has indulged in such cheap propaganda and I still can’t understand why he has done this. My father helped him when he was involved in a big issue and he has no gratitude for the man who helped him. Chandrababu’s hand is also in these rumours which defamed me and I can understand how low the TDP and the party cadre have stooped now.
It’s not just me, respect is important for every woman and to try and disrespect a woman is the lowest thing one can do. To try and trample over a woman’s dignity and capture the seat of power is sheer depravity and no one can succeed in life if they do that.
Ram: YS Vijayamma told me that after the death of Dr YSR many people who loved him died of a heart attack after hearing the news of his demise, but was feeling sad that she was still alive. But now in this journey, she has been relentlessly struggling for both of you and travelling in the sun and campaigning.
YS Sharmila: Yes, we feel bad when she is travelling in the sun and campaigning in spite of her age. But she did the same when our father was there and prayed for the prosperity of the state. She didn’t stop her prayers even after our father died and till date she prays for the state to flourish as it did during our father’s time and that the state and its people should see the same glory once again. She is seeking votes for YS Jagan because she feels that if he is made the Chief Minister, he will serve the people just like how his father did and is asking them to give him that one opportunity...