April 9th, 2003 marked a significant date in the history of erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh politics when the Congress Legislature Party leader Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy embarked on a 60-day, 1,500 km padayatra to highlight the drought-related problems in the State and the ruling Telugu Desam Party’s apathy towards the farmers. The walkathon which started from Chevella in Ranga Reddy district on this date, has completed 17 years today.
YSRCP leader Devineni Avinash took to twitter to remind us of this historical day. ‘Rajanna’ as Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy was fondly known, worked for the upliftment of the farmers. He braved the scorching heat only to see a smile on their faces and whatever done by him to achieve this was, priceless, he wrote in his tweet.
Dr Rajasekhara Reddy’s padayatra covered 11 districts for two months which traversed through Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, West and East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, and Vizianagaram districts before it culminated at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam.
DR YSR in the course of his journey addresses a large number of public meetings, met varied people and heard their problems.
The walkathon not only highlighted the TDP government’s alleged failure to take adequate drought relief measures, but revived the fortunes of Congress in the state. The chord he struck among the masses was so powerful that the party was swept to power in 2004 riding a tide of popularity in its favour, thanks to Dr YSR.
The legacy was continued by Dr YSR’s son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in 2018 , when he launched the Praja Sankalpa Yatra on November 6th to reach out to the masses of newly formed Andhra Pradesh.
The padayatra was launched at his home town of Idupulapaya in YSR district on November 6, 2017 where YS Jagan after paying homage to his father at his memorial started his journey. The Praja Sankalpa Yatra finally culminated on January 9th, 2019 at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district after traversing through 13 districts, 135 assembly constituencies, 2516 villages for a period of 341 days covering 3648 Kms. The people of Andhra Pradesh had imposed faith in him just like how they did on his father. DR YSR after the Padayatra led the Congress to stupendous victory by winning 157 seats out of the 294 Assembly seats in the General Elections.
The same effect was seen in the year 2019 when YS Jagan Mohan Reddy led the YSR Congress Party to a astounding win against the TDP , where the YSRCP won 151 Assembly seats out of the 175 seats and 22 Parliamentary seats out of the 25 seats.
In all humility Dr YSR termed the results the "people's victory" and vowed to continue the welfare and development schemes for the people a promise which he kept until his untimely demise.