By Reshmi AR
Very few individuals leave an indelible imprint on the lives of the masses in a way that they become a part of public consciousness. Few rulers touch the lives of the people they claim to represent in a way that they become an inalienable part of every facet of the common man's life. Undivided Andhra Pradesh was fortunate enough to have seen one such leader of the masses - the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who strode the political stage like a colossus, mainly because he had his roots firmly anchored in the hearts of the people.
YSR struck a chord with the people of the state as no leader ever had. For the common masses, he was one of their own, not a leader who, from his ivory-tower presided over their fortunes, as all others in power have done and continue to do.
He was the first politician in the state to have pioneered the concept of padayatra, covering the length and breadth of the state in his massive outreach programme which powered the Congress party to victory. When YSR set out on his walkathon, 'praja prasthanam' to the hot remote regions of Andhra Pradesh in scorching heat, he gathered first hand information on the problems faced by people. And once he became Chief Minister, his first job was to offer a solution to all their problems, to an extent that no leader earlier or since, has done.
No wonder then that the people who hugely benefited from his plans still remain loyal and indebted to him. They have showered immeasurable love and adulation upon the YSR family members even after the sad demise of their beloved leader who had striven to work towards upliftment of the poor in the state.
The YSR family too, on their part, continue to reciprocate the love they received. YSR Congress Party Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy embarked on Odarpu Yatra to console those who committed suicide or died of shock, after the sudden demise of their beloved leader, YSR. Next, it was the turn of YSR's daughter Sharmila to follow in her father's Praja Prasthanam, by undertaking Maro Praja Prasthanam, Sharmila toured 116 constituencies in 14 districts covering a distance of 3,112 kilometres for nine grueling months. What was common to the two padayatras was the manner in which they were received with open hearts and hearths by every village household at every doorstep.
Now, YS Jagan is all set to take his father's legacy forward by embarking on another padayatra titled Praja Sankalpa Yatra, a drive to reach out to the unheard masses of the Andhra state. Praja Sankalpa Yatra will begin on November 6. Jagan will cover 125 Assembly constituencies in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The Padayatra will start from Idupulapaya and conclude at Ichapuram, carrying the YSR legacy forward to the T.
YSR pioneered the concept of walkathon while his son Jagan is taking it to unprecedented heights, thanks to unconditional love showered by the masses of the state.