YS Jagan Mohan Reddy - an undaunted leader

 - Sakshi Post

He is the grandson of a rich Rayalaseema political group in Andhra Pradesh. He will not go to sleep until he keeps up his promises. To him, for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader and for every rival there is a hero. To him, the well-being of his people first and everything next. He is an arch enemy of cheaters. He is stubborn and believes in his ideas even if everyone tells he is wrong. He is gentle with the gentle and tough with the tough. His hallmark is rigidness and discipline. Every breath of his body thinks of serving deprived sections of the society. He is none other than the present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy – great son of Dr. YS Rajasekar Reddy, once a political icon of Andhra Pradesh. 

YSR captured the hearts of innumerable families of Andhra for his action oriented service activities.  YSR became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 2004. Though some vested interests were involved in making false propaganda against YSR, his love, affection and service to his subjects enabled him to come to power again for the second term. Unfortunately, on 2nd September, 2009, his sudden death in a Helicopter’s crash came like a rude shock to the poor and oppressed. Power struggle went on. Y.S. Jagan, who was already a Member of Parliament tried to mobilise his supporters on the one hand but on the other, the congress high command preferred seniors. People deeply mourned. As many as seventy people died disheartened and some even committed suicide. Unfortunately, the congress high command did not even approve of Y.S.Jagan’s ‘Yodarpu Yathra’ to console the people. At one stage Jagan was upset over the attitude of the leaders of the Congress party. He left the party only to start a new political party named after his father YSR in 2011.

Before the people of Andhra Pradesh recovered from the shock of passing away of their beloved political leader YSR, the bifurcation of the State rocked them. Against the wishes of Andhras, the state of Telengana was carved out with its capital at Hyderabad, which was already a highly developed industrial town. To Andhras, it is a big loss. Until the new capital was built, Hyderabad was allowed to be used as an administrative office for 10 years to both states. Since injustice was done to Andhras special status was promised by the then Congress Government which was duly supported by the then main opposition especially, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the floor of the Parliament.

Ever since, the formation of his own political party namely YSRCP JaganMohan Reddy continued to consolidate his political power and tried to emerge as a mass leader. But, his political opponents from the Congress and Telugu Desam party made serious allegations against him that he had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income in his name and succeeded in sending him behind the bars for more than fifteen months. In the election of 2014, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by N.Chandrababu Naidu secured absolute majority in the newly formed Legislative Assembly. Jagan’s YSRC party gave a tough fight in many constituencies and secured more percentage of votes, which was wrested from the Congress party. The Telugu Desam party led by Chandrababu Naidu was the important ally of the national government led by BJP at the centre and so it was a golden chance for the state Government to ask for special status to the state.

As stated already, the TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu was serious and simply interested in sending his opponent Jagan to prison by raising past allegations of illegal assets of Jagan. During his tenure, Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for a new capital at Amaravati, a fertile land near Krishna river. He was well aware of the bad financial condition of the state. This act of Chandrababu Naidu was an unpardonable mistake since he had concentrated on the construction of a new capital without getting the fulfilment of special status to Andhra from the Central Government. The passing of the New Capital Bill in the Assembly, laying basic infrastructure and the shifting of administrative offices from Hyderabad to the new Amaravati were hurriedly done without analysing the pros and cons of it. Jagan, as the then leader of the opposition on the floor of the house supported the New Capital motion with some reservations like the mode of land acquisition etc. The TDP Government under Chandrababu had done nothing constructive to improve the status of the poor people. After the formation of YSRCP Jagan could not concentrate on the drafting of political ideology or strategy to his party, since he was sent to jail.

Jagan’s stay in jail for more than fifteen months gave him an opportunity to extol and executive his future plan of action in politics. He began his ‘Padayatra’ that is travelling by foot to meet various kinds of people. He listened to the problems of the poor strata of the society. He dined with them, spent time with them and thus practically witnessed the sufferings of the lakhs of downtrodden people. He spent sleepless nights when he had seen the pitiable plight of the poor people. He toured for more than fifteen months covering about 3600 km. He witnessed the anti people activities of the Government. By his simple, brief, powerful and punching words Jagan mobilised the support of the masses.

In the Assembly elections held in 2019 the YSRC party under Jagan came to power with a thumping majority by winning 151 seats and, leaving only 23 seats to Telugu Desam Party. Soon after assuming power Jagan observed that in the name of new capital, land grabbing, inside trading and more and more illegal activities took place during the previous regime and so he simply set aside the concept of ‘one capital’. He feels that by diverting the funds to build a new capital, the TDP under Chandrababu Naidu made no efforts to help the deplorable condition of the have notes. Before the election took place, manifesto of YSRCP in the name of ‘Navaratnalu’ (Nine gems), a lot of promises were made to uplift the poor people and raise their standard of life. The choice before Jagan was either to concentrate the brick by brick development of infrastructure of Amaravati – a highly fertile land or to go in for the fulfillment of the welfare measures of the poor and the oppressed.

To Jagan nothing more dearer to God than serving the poor. To him, happiness of many needy first and everything next. Apparently, it looks that Jagan’s political move of changing the capital is an opportunistic design but as the saying goes that sometimes “inconsistency is a sign of virtue”, he reversed the division of capital issue and initiated ‘three capital formula’ by making Visakhapatnam - already highly developed town with good infrastructure as the new Executive capital, the old Amaravati as the Legislative capital and Kurnool as the Judicial capital. In this connection, he promised to do justice to the innocent farmers of Amaravati, who had sacrificed their fertile land to the previous Government. When Jagan sat on the throne he very well knew of the bad situation of the State exchequer. He claimed descent from two political personalities of Rayalaseema in Andhra. If he had inherited a stubborn attitude from his grandfather Raja Reddy, his deep love for humanity was acquired from his father YS Rajasekar Reddy.

On the day of his assuming power, he began to execute his promises made to the people before election. To Jagan, direct service to his subjects is important. He took it as a challenge to help the poor in spite of extreme financial constraints. As stated among the schemes incorporated in his ‘Navaratnas’ (or Nine Gems) his schemes like YSR Asara, YSR Cheyutha ‘Amma Vodi’ forms an important place. Another important helping hand extended by him was the old age scheme. During the period of YSR a sum of Rs. 2,000/- was granted to old people, who were above 65 years old. After the demise of YSR, though the scheme was continued by the Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu, unfortunately economically sound people were benefited by the scheme leaving the real lower class people in lurch. Jagan’s Government had not only reduced the age limit of old age pension to 60 years but also raised the amount to Rs.2750/. Strict instructions had been issued to the officials to see that the real deserving people irrespective of caste or creed should be benefited by the new scheme.During the Virulent tour made by few observers from Chennai to Various Parts of Andhra evidence hail the happy moods of the majority of people of Andhra whose economic status sounds good with the various Schemes introduced by Jagan directly depositing money in their bank Account. Political Analysts praise Jagan’s Sharpness in simplifying the complicated issues in the Governing bodies. Some economists opine that the helping hand to the have nots helped them to invest a part of their money on petty business. The purchasing Capacity of the poor in the long run gives good returns to the Government. Observers from the State of Tamil Nadu are surprised to see the Service of Volunteers appointed by Jagan. On 1st or 2nd of every month the Volunteers would knock at the door of Old and crippled people only to hand over old age pension amount Rs.2750/- to them directly. Jagans’ love for farmers was seen in his YSR ‘Rythu Bharosa' , a scheme mainly meant for poor farmers. Apart from issuing financial assistance to farmers, they had been assured of minimum paddy procurement.

One unique aspect of Jagan’s style of functioning is while announcing his popular schemes, he ascribes that by the grace of God he is privileged to do good to his people. He repeatedly addresses his people as Brothers and Sisters. He always used to mention the elders as ‘seniors’ , seeks their well wishes and ends his speech that if God wills he wishes to do more and more good to the people of all sects. In this connection, it is apt to mention here that history reminds us that long ago before Christ, there was a powerful Buddhist King in India by name Ashoka, who had been hailed as ever shining star on the earth for his deep love for humanity. Ashoka addressed as ‘All people are my children’ maintained a big standing army, engraved his services on the rock edicts and inscriptions. He strictly instructed officers to implement them. Therefore, we see some similarities between King Ashoka and Jagan.

Another revolutionary step taken by Jagan was free English medium education to the children of the poor section especially to the downtrodden. Apart from providing free food they have been provided with dress, bag, shoes and laptop at the higher secondary level. Jagan’s introduction of English medium in Government Schools would definitely help the poor students to compete with the Corporate school students, which is a praise worthy work of Jagan for the cause of education. The Chief Minister rightly feels that basic sound education to the youngsters would enable them to stand on their own leg. According to some noted intellectuals Jagan’s ‘new educational reform’ really helps the needy to take care of themselves. Educationalists were perplexed to note the participation of many poor Students from the English Medium Institutions in the competitions. Analysts comment that the revolutionary step taken by Jagan to Implement free English medium Education to the Economically poor Students with the latest infrastructure facility boosted a herd of hope to the have-nots so that they can send their Children for Job opportunities in any part of the world. Among the other important schemes, mention should be made of the Government's financial help to the small scale handicraft business workers and to the poor Auto drivers.

Jagan does not bother with criticism levelled against him that he had drained the state’s exchequer fully to the level of bankruptcy in the name of welfare schemes. His contention is when the poor and the needy are provided with a helping hand their self is boosted. First, they tend to spend for themselves and as a part of it, they are also tempted to invest in some petty business. Again, by their little earnings, a few may dare to do more adventurous business. The buying capacity of the poor in the long run gives a good return to the Government. As for the upliftment of lower strata of section, for the first time the allocation of reservation for the backward classes and Scheduled castes have been initiated and implemented in his administration. By doing so, Jagan is able to mobilise the support from the lower caste communities.

Perhaps the most progressive step taken by was the concept of family doctor scheme in Andhra, one of its first kinds in the history of India. His father YSR – a great man, who had a deep concern for the poor, introduced ‘Aarogyasri’, a perfect health scheme aimed at serving the poor sick. Jagan went one step ahead and introduced the system of family doctors, who would be assigned to take care of a few families. The family doctor, apart from giving useful suggestions and treating small ailments, is also entrusted with the responsibility of recommending the cases of serious diseases to Government Hospitals. Now Corporate hospitals cannot exploit the poor section of the society. The above said scheme is being praised by many social activists in Andhra. Jagan is equally conscious and concerned of unemployed educated youth. In a bid to woo big business investors in Andhra Pradesh he arranged to conduct a Global investors summit at Visakhapatnam with the only aim to expand business all over Andhra. Many multinational companies came forward to venture new industries in Andhra.

Jagan is courageous and determined, cannot be discouraged and cannot be shaken. Critics say since Jagan comes from a factionalist family he runs a goonda Government and simply suppresses the people who oppose him. Democracy with all its broad concepts namely ‘openness’ like freedom to criticise is considered by many as monocracy i.e., a mob influences the people when the election comes to power and administers. To control the evil designs of some extreme self-centred capitalists we do need a genuine powerful ruler, who can deal with them with an Iron hand. Therefore we need a very tough politician like Jagan Mohan Reddy, who can detect and control some selfish elements only to do good to humanity.

In the recent election, the large turnout of voters, especially the old and the women folk signifies a sense of gratitude to the services rendered by Jagan to his subjects, who affectionately hailed him as a herald of hope.

                 (The article is authored by Dr G. Ashok, Ph.D., formerly Presidency College, Chennai)

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