People live and die. But, rare are those who live on even after death. They live in the work they have done, in the ideals they espoused and the accomplishments they achieved. Late YS Rajasekhara Reddy is one such rare personality, who continues to live on in the minds of countless millions of people for whom he strove till the very end.
September 2 marks the death anniversary of the late YSR. For many this is the date when he departed but physically. But, his spirit lives on in every village where a poor man got a shelter. Everytime the siren of the 108 ambulance wails, the ever smiling face of YSR flashes on our mind’s screen.
Who else but a visionary of his stature could have thought of pension for the old, without which they would be reduced to utter penury with no means of subsistence? Who else but a Himalayan personality could have envisioned a hike in the pensions to the disabled?
YSR's pioneering Jala Yagnam helped the growth of sustainable agriculture and turned AP into the Harit AP’.
The doctor in him saw the decline of government hospitals during the TDP era and the growing healthcare needs of a population weighed down by poverty. He unveiled the Arogya Shree health insurance programme for BPL families through which they could avail themselves of free treatment (or surgery) up to a maximum limit of Rs 2 lakhs!
Another pet project of his was the Indiramma housing scheme, which gave millions of homeless across rural Andhra Pradesh a roof over their heads. It was a housing scheme that was unprecedented in terms of its scale and magnitude.
Dr YSR's two rupees' a kg rice scheme gave sustenance to millions of the poor and the deprived and ensured that no one in the state was denied minimal means of subsistence.
And most importantly, the fee reimbursement scheme helped people from the lowest economic strata to enter the portals of educational excellence that till then was out of bounds for them..
During the YSR era, the scheme provided full reimbursement of the college tuition fee for the underprivileged. This is one of the reasons why the late chief minister became hugely popular and came to be respected among all segments of the population.
All his schemes were aimed at providing social welfare coverage to ensure that every citizen in the state provide basic necessities — food clothing and shelter. Sadly however, after the tragic demise of the people-friendly leader, his schemes failed to take off the way they were envisioned. All his brilliant schemes are being watered down by the present government that doesn't care to understand the importance and utility of such measures. Many still recall how the release of funds for health insurance was fast-tracked during the time of Dr Rajasekhara Reddy. Unfortunately, Arogya Shree too has suffered at the hands of the successive governments.
The current state of affairs in the state clearly reflects the fact that the present leaders lack the muscle to push the Centre to help the state. All they can do is politicise every trivial issue to gain undue mileage.
When one looks back at the political history in the state, one can conclude that Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is undoubtedly the tallest leader the state had ever seen. During the time of NTR, it was believed that he was the most popular chief minister AP had known. However, later realisation dawned upon people that while NTR achieved fame because of his cinema background, YSR on the other hand achieved popularity through his pioneering schemes aimed at alleviating the suffering of the downtrodden. Perhaps this is why no other leader in the state enjoyed such widespread acclaim in the Muslim community as much as YSR, who is hailed for his fee reimbursement scheme, did. The scheme helped the poorest cart-vendor or daily wage-earner to send his children to professional colleges to pursue higher education. No wonder, the minorities remember him as a messiah who showed them that there was light at the end of a dark tunnel!
Many projects that were envisioned by the late chief minister have been diluted by the leaders at the helm of affairs in the state. It is this factor that has led YS Jaganmohan Reddy to promise to the people his commitment to realizing the dreams of the late Dr. YSR.
The actions of the YSRCP need to be seen in this context. It's clearly evident that the YSRCP is determined to fight for the cause of the underprivileged!