AMARAVATI: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has emerged as a welfare signature to the State and became the new idiom of Andhra Pradesh polity with his sharpness in decision making, precision in work style, eye for detail, and commitment to usher in a welfare state which earned him a place of pride of being among the best heads of State in the country.
Pitch-forked into active politics by a quirk of fate with the tragedy that Andhra Pradesh could not digest and still feels that the helicopter carrying Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy should not have crashed, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at that time, being one of the 42 MPs was hardly noticed by Delhi which never expected that he would ride like a colossus to dwarf the stalwarts and one day will change the grammar of governance.
For YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who celebrates his 48th birthday on Monday, the political ride was not a smooth sail but he had to weather many a storm, handle difficult and complex situations, the little David had to take on many Goliaths, hold the tempest of adversaries and torrent of bad propaganda at bay and walked straight into the hearts of people by being with them, among them all the time through his mass contact programmes and there was a groundswell in his popularity ratings.
When the going got tough, the tough Young Turk got going and his determination became more resolute. The political spark of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has ignited new vibes in the State and trouble started to haunt him. But the determined young man went ahead to fulfill his mission even as the vultures and falcons flapped their wings and sharpened their beaks at the fledgling YSRCP, but to no avail.
The family and loyalists stood by him in tough times to tide over the crisis. His mother YS Vijayamma took the young YSRCP in her arms as honorary President, while his better half YS Bharathi deftly handled business houses. As a close-knit family, they could overcome the crisis with YS Sharmila completing the unfinished mass contact programme.
After the bifurcation, came the deluge, and the rump State has witnessed anarchy, nepotism, corruption and became a theatre State with dream merchants ruling the roost, showing colorful graphics and illusions to fool people for their selfish ends.
Though YS Jagan Mohan Reddy fought the battle of 2014 on his own, certain forces and equations got the better of him by a wafer-thin vote percentage.
The character assassination by his adversaries that started right from day one of his shift to active public life did not stop but was intensified by blatant lies, half-truths, subjective conclusions, opinionated debates, twisted tongues, and paper tigers took to public policy.
Undeterred by the onslaught of the sly TDP leadership and his coterie, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy continued to highlight the failures of the State and was constantly with the people fighting for their cause.
Taking the first steps from YSR Ghat at Idupulapaya, Praja Sankalpa Yatra took off and it was history in the making. Every step that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took amplified the political atmosphere with farmers, cheated women groups, students, weavers, fishermen, youth, aged people, patients, doctors, and all sections of people joining strides with him to pour their woes. Unmoved by the engineered defections, his March went ahead and crossed iconic Krishna and Godavari bridges with end-to-end supporters sending chill down the spine of adversaries.
By the time Ichchapuram has seen his footfall, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has clocked 3648 km and the writing was on the wall that he would be the next Chief Minister.
The 2019 battle was won even before it was fought with the confident YS Jagan Mohan Reddy moving to Tadepalli well in advance and carrying out the campaign with his, by now familiar, style and shown to the people a simple two-page manifesto that covers welfare of all sections. He could effectively articulate the failures and rampant corruption and nepotism in TDP and redefined qualities of leadership. After the campaign crescendo cooled down, he chilled while the paper tigers started biting and barking with no roar and fell flat when the results came out.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy must be among the very few founder leaders of a political party to become Chief Minister at a young age and created a record of sorts winning 151 of 175 seats in Assembly and 22 of the 25 Parliament seats in spite of the hostile media and conspiratorial adversaries. Much earlier, he even brushed aside an attack on him at Vizag airport, which has given sadistic pleasure to higher-ups in the previous government.
Led by the demagogue former Chief Minister, the tirade against him by adversaries continues even 18 months after assuming office and they explored and took recourse in other options after being routed in the parliamentary system.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has shown determination, stubbornness, and his hallmark commitment in carrying out the governance with transparency and has been rolling welfare schemes, more than what was promised in the manifesto and winning hearts of the people even during the testing times of COVID-19. The demagogue and his coterie could delay the distribution of house site pattas to the poor and implementation of English medium in government schools from primary level but the juggernaut has been rolling on, with more vigour.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has been effectively used by the young Chief Minister to bring in transparency and shunt out middlemen and people are now having the feel of governance as money started coming into their bank accounts directly without undergoing the earlier ordeal of standing in long queues, foregoing day’s wage, the numerous disappointments at the disbursing offices due to lack of power supply or the nonfunctional biometric system, among others.
Early in the morning, a village volunteer comes calling to the door to disburse the pension, and Villages Secretariats were set up one each for every 2000 population which provides over 500 services and counting. The governance is now visible to people even at the village level. Agriculture, education, medicare besides social welfare, empowerment of weaker sections and women socially, politically, and economically has been the signature tune of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government. He introduced the Spandana programme, which has brought governance closer to the people with stunning transparency. His promise of prohibition in a phased manner is being effectively implemented.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy gets involved in the implementation of the schemes so deeply that he discusses the minutest detail and monitors with a sharp eye. No Chief Minister would have taken the pains to closely monitor the revamp of government schools which is being done in three phases. He has personally seen and approved the design, colour, and quality of classroom furniture, black/green boards and the ten essentials for any school which also include, compound wall, painting, toilets, running water, English lab, fans, lights, and a kitchen shed. He has taken a personal interest in finalizing the menu of midday meals being served under Jagananna Goru Muddha and ensured that it would be nutritious, has variety and hygiene. He has also personally seen and approved the school uniform cloth, shoes, bags, books, belts, and socks that were distributed under Jagananna Vidya Kanuka kits.
He must be the first visionary in the country to incentivise mothers for sending her children to school under Amma Vodi where she gets Rs 15,000 annually. The fees reimbursement and hostel and mess charges are also credited to the mothers’ bank account. Perhaps he is the only Chief Minister to believe that the amount spent on educating the child is a capital investment and the returns would come in the long run.
His vision of Nadu Nedu in schools and Hospitals will have a long-term impact and he breathed life into Aarogyasri by bringing quality medicare within the reach of common people.
He has handled the Covid 19 pandemic efficiently and effectively. He keeps telling time and again that the rural landscape will be changing in the coming days, with the 10641 Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs) serving the farmers at village level from seed to marketing and also procure agricultural produce. Janata Bazaars and English medium schools along with Village secretariats are going to be the hub of activity in rural areas. Farmers getting input subsidy, crop insurance, Rythu Bharosa in three installments with enhanced amount and elongated period, MSP and soft loans strengthens agriculture sector and the Market Stabilisation Fund takes care of price fluctuations; farmers could not have asked for more.
His initiative of YSR Cheyutha and YSR Aasara to empower women (45-60 years) belonging to the weaker sections and minorities through entrepreneurship in dairy, grocery, and other chosen fields has the back up of banks, supported by giant companies like AMUL, Proctor and Gamble, ITC, Allana Group, Reliance among others, is a reflection of his commitment to uplift the poor economically and socially. He has provided 50 percent reservation for women and weaker sections in nominated posts and nominated works, a testimony for political empowerment.
Apart from the welfare activities, he has taken bold decisions like reverse tendering and appointed a Commission for Judicial Preview, put LokAyukta in place, decentralization of administration with Visakhapatnam the Executive Capital, Amaravati the Legislative Capital, and Kurnool the Judicial Capital. Hyderabad has taught a bitter lesson that all development should not be concentrated in one place and that line is being pursued by him. He has also written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) about some of the happenings in the State.
Among the legislations he initiated, the Disha Bill stands for safety of women and children, and a resolution was passed seeking the dissolution of the State Legislative Council.
With a promising future and the backing of a large chunk of population, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is taking the State forward. He will be adding one more year to his age, but his vision is much far and ahead of other States. Like father, like son, goes the adage and he is all set to travel the extra mile for creating a welfare state.