It was YSR’s model of welfare governance which fired the imagination of YS Jagan to come up with a slew of welfare schemes which would percolate to the grassroots across Andhra Pradesh
YS Jagan’s vision, which seemed to reflect a throwback to YSR’s governance model, struck a chord with the masses
While predicating his system of governance on YSR’s people-friendly government, YS Jagan bore in mind the fact that his father’s legacy would be the touchstone against which he would be judged
Second generation leaders or inheritors of a political legacy always come up against a tall mountain to climb, in terms of popular perception. Be it Stalin in Tamil Nadu, Akhilesh Yadav in UP, Surjit Singh Badal in Punjab, HD Kumaraswamy in Karnataka or Udhhav Thackeray in Maharashtra, to cite a few instances, each such leader is inevitably measured against the work and contribution of his larger-than-life father. In other words, they find themselves in the unenviable situation of having to fill oversized shoes. Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s political mantle, despite all the claims the Congress makes, fell on his son, the current Chief Minister of AP, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Again comparisons are unavoidable.
Not for nothing is Dr YSR idolised across the Telugu states as few leaders before him had been or have since been.
The Congress party rode to power in 2004 on the strength of YSR’s leadership. He stood tall as he walked through the length and breadth of undivided Andhra Pradesh from Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district of the time to Ichchapuram in Srikakulam to familiarise himself with the problems of the needy and impoverished under the TDP government of the day. It was this walkathon which gave YSR an insight into the welfare governance model which he wanted to develop for the State back then and also powered the Congress into office unseating Chandrababu Naidu.
YSR’s first decision after assuming power in 2004, was to give free electricity to the agriculture sector and waive farmers’ loans. His pathbreaking healthcare initiative, Arogyasri, brought corporate medical treatment to the doorstep of the poorest of the poor and his celebrated fee reimbursement scheme empowered millions of youth with education which would otherwise have been well beyond their grasp. YSR envisioned pensions for widows and the elderly, and a higher allowance for the differently abled. The Indiramma housing scheme for the poor, which was one of his pet projects, was considered unprecedented in terms of its scale. Jalayagnam led to Polavaram and Veligonda projects in Andhra and Pranahita-Chevella lift irrigation projects in Telangana and other such.
It was this model of welfare governance which fired the imagination of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to come up with a slew of welfare schemes which would percolate to the grassroots across the state. During the course of his 14-month long walkathon, Praja Sankalpa yatra, through Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan announced in meeting after meeting that he drew up his own governance model based on nine precious gems or Navaratnalu which included flagship initiatives like YSR Rythu Bharosa giving Rs. 50,000 to farmers, Arogyasri, fee reimbursement, Jalayagnam among others. Apart from the widespread resentment against Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam party across the state in residuary Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan’s vision, which seemed to reflect a throwback to YSR’s governance model, struck a chord with the masses. While predicating his system of governance on YSR’s people friendly government, YS Jagan bore in mind the fact that his father’s legacy would be the touchstone against which he would be judged. He added certain other schemes as a part of his vision, such as YSR Asara, under which loans of cooperative societies would be waived and interest free loans sanctioned. Jagan also came up with Amma Vodi under which Rs. 15,000 would be given to mothers of school going children.
Of the 175 seats in A P assembly, the YSR Congress Party founded by him, bagged 67 in the 2014 elections. Starting in November 2017 as leader of opposition, as he cross-crossed through the state in his close to 3,600 km long padayatra, speaking of Navaratnalu, Jagan, in addition to spelling out his vision for the state, highlighted corruption in the TDP establishment. Amaravati, Polavaram and sand mining controlled by mafias everywhere, were among a host of burning issues which had ubiquitous relevance in all parts of the state.
YS Jagan’s Padayatra bore fruit and drove him to power in the May 2019 elections. The YSRCP and bagged as many as 22 Lok Sabha seats and a staggering 151 assembly seats, sending Chandrababu’s TDP packing. Immediately after Jagan was sworn in as chief minister at the end of May this year, he hit the ground running fast tracking governance in AP.
Navaratnalu remained at the top of his list and at the end of his first 100 days in office, YS Jagan made sure that he kept his word. He announced an increase in pensions for senior citizens, physically challenged and other categories, assistance of Rs.15,000 to mothers of school going children under scheme, scrapping of contributory pension which the TDP regime had introduced.
The YSRCP government took a momentous decision to merge APSRTC with the government. The AP CM’s decision has in part, triggered the TSRTC demand for merger of the corporation with the government, which the KCR government has consistently refused to give in to. The same happened in Karnataka too recently where KSRTC asked the government to follow Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan’s model.
Among some novel initiatives YS Jagan kick started as chief minister are Spandana, a grievance redressal cell in his office and reverse tendering process to review escalated costs of Polavaram and other irrigation projects.
According to Andhra Pradesh Minister for water resources Anil Kumar Yadav, Rs. 1500 cr was saved in reverse tendering.
YS Jagan’s promise of bringing the government to the doorstep of the poorest villager was launched with the Grama Secretariat scheme under which 1.2 lakh jobs at various levels were created.
How does Jagan Mohan Reddy measure up seen against the larger than life image of his father? For the first time since Andhra Pradesh was born as a state in 1956, a son of a former chief Minister and one of the most popular ones at that, became one himself. So far, he has made all the right moves. People’s overwhelming mandate is a popular nod to his Navaratnalu and the promised Rajanna Rajyam.
YS Jagan in just over a year has ensured that the YSRCP model of governance covers all segments of society. The setting up of several corporations for the welfare of various social groups, such as the BC Corporation, mirrors his vision.
YS Jagan, as he had promised in his interaction with the masses in meetings, is determined to ensure welfare governance in Andhra Pradesh treading on the path laid out by his father and going beyond.