By Reshmi AR
Praja Prasthanam the very name evokes a host of memories. It was on this day exactly 15 years ago that the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy embarked on his historic walkathon Praja Prasthanam. It was a Padayatra which brought about a socio-political awakening and drew the attention of the nation. The difference between Dr YSR and other political leaders of his times was that he was a darling of the masses. This was because at no point in his entire career did he ever act in a condescending manner. With him, there was no stepping down, as it were. Even though he was the head of state, he became one with the masses without any pretence and was loved by the common masses as one of their own. Dr. YSR pioneered the padayatra concept in this state as he traversed through every nook and corner of Andhra Pradesh in scorching temperatures. No wonder he has remained in the hearts of millions of his fans across the world. During his Praja Prasthanam, YSR was like the king in fables, who went out in disguise to find out the needs of the people. It was easy for a man of his stature to send his party leaders to do the same. But Dr YSR was a class apart, which is why he commands so much love and respect years after his unfortunate demise.
After his Praja Prasthanam, the first thing YSR did was to devise schemes that people badly needed. His welfare plans are popular to this date and ensured that every citizen in Andhra Pradesh got at least the basic necessities. Unfortunately, the state which could have prospered is now deep in penury thanks to the present TDP rule under Chandrababu Naidu government. The TDP has completely watered down all the people-friendly schemes of Dr YSR which has left several homeless and struggle for even two meals a day.
One heartening thing is that his family has not let his legacy die. After several people died of shock on hearing news of their beloved leader's demise, his son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy decided it was time to follow the path shown by his father. That's when he embarked on his Odarpu Yatra to console families of those who died of shock from his father's death. He received an overwhelming response from people who saw a reflection of his father in him.
Then, it was the turn of Dr YSR's daughter Sharmila to walk in his footsteps. As part of her padayatra Maro Praja Prasthanam, Sharmila covered a distance of 3,112 kilomteres in 116 constituencies and 14 districts for nine grueling months.
Now, back to 2018 , YS Jagan is on his mass contact initiative--Praja Sankalpa Yatra. YS Jagan began his walkathon on November 6, and has been reaching out to the unheard masses of the residuary Telugu state. He will cover 125 Assembly constituencies in 13 districts. The YSRCP chief launched his Praja Sankalpa Yatra at Idupulapaya in YSR district on November 6, 2017 after paying homage to his father at his memorial. So far, he has covered YSR district, Anantapur, Kurnool, Chittoor, Nellore, Prakasam and is now moving through Guntur district on his walkathon. The objective behind YS Jagan's walkathon is learn about the problems of the masses on a first hand basis and incorporate solutions to the same in his party's manifesto for the upcoming elections. The YSRCP Navarathnalu seeks to cover all aspects of lives of the poor and the needy.
Going by the way people are showering love on YS Jagan, it's easy to say that YSR struck a chord with the masses like none else. No wonder he's still being called as the people's leader, whose qualities are being seen in his son YS Jagan as well. It is clear that he has inherited his father's political mantle.