The Congress party seems to have woken up to the lasting contribution of Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy to the Telugu speaking states. It is strange that the party should get itself into a tangle trying to claim that it is the rightful inheritor of Dr YSR's legacy. Why this sudden anxiety now? The answers to this question are not hard to seek.
For one thing, the Congress faces near extinction in Andhra Pradesh, where Dr YSR’s son and YSR Congress Party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is storming district after district with overwhelming success in terms of the massive crowds which his outreach programme Praja Sankalpa Yatra has been attracting everywhere. For another, the Telugu Desam Party which rode to power on the strength of the Modi wave as also, actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s popularity, is fast losing ground. Where does that leave the Congress?
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The grand old party seems to have suddenly lost its bearings with most of its leaders from the Andhra region either having migrated to other parties, or losing their sheen. Botsa Satyanrayana and Kiran Kumar Reddy are two classic examples—while the former is with the YSRCP, the latter finds himself back in the Congress fold, minus the pull and charisma he had earlier. The reason for the Congress trying desperately to hitch itself to the YSR legacy is obvious. It does not have a leader worth the name and worse, it is blamed for the state in which Andhra Pradesh lies today.
The Congress, BJP and Chandrababu Naidu are seen as the diabolical trio responsible for AP being denied its due. Sonia Gandhi presided over bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh while the NDA dispensation denied the state Special Category Status in popular perception. As for Chandrababu Naidu, he might well find himself relegated to the dustbin of history with his long series of U-turns and political somersaults. That cops have to herd people to his rallies and fence them in, is a clear indicator of where he stands with the people of the state.
Meanwhile, YS Jagan, who had launched his mass contact initiative Praja Sankalpa Yatra on November 6, 2017 has met with tremendous success everywhere. In him, the common citizens see a reflection of his father late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy who’s seen as the messiah of the masses. Dr YSR’s model of welfare governance has been hailed by leaders across the country and emulated in other states. It is therefore only natural that people see YS Jagan as the rightful inheritor of the YSR legacy.
If Congress indeed had the sort of adulation for Dr YSR which they seem to be demonstrating, why did its leadership act as vengefully as it did soon after the tragic demise of Dr YSR by foisting false cases against his son, YS Jagan? Why did the Congress High Command deny him permission to go on his Odarpu Yatra? After all, YS Jagan had made it very clear that he only intended to meet families of victims who died of sudden shock or committed suicide on hearing of Dr YSR’s sudden demise.
It is obvious that the Congress finds itself at the thin end of the wedge with no political future in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. Out of sheer desperation it is trying to cling on to the contribution and image of Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy hoping to redeem itself in the eyes of the public. As in the past, the Congress once again seems to have a poor perception of people’s intelligence as well as memory. Once bitten, people remain shy at the hustings for a long time. The more the Congress reiterates its allegiance to Dr YSR and his memory, the more it will serve to reinforce the irrefutable fact that YS Jagan is the true inheritor of his father’s legacy.