Bapatla, Guntur District: March 12 marks a historic day in my life and the lives of millions of others. It is the day when the hopes, dreams, aspirations and wishes of crores of people of the state found expression and the YSRCP as a party representing the people, was born. My father, the late Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy was a leader of the masses in the true sense of the term. His matchless bond with the people was such that hundreds of people died of shock when they learnt of his untimely demise.

The lives of millions of common citizens were suddenly uprooted and turned upside down. When we wanted to meet and console the families of those who, on hearing of my father’s demise, died of sudden shock, the number of harsh restrictions which were imposed upon us, hurt us beyond description. It caused us immense pain. Needless to say, in these tragic circumstances, we ourselves were benumbed with grief.

Read: Chandrababu Naidu Enacting Drama In The Name of Special Category Status: YS Jagan

I grew up watching my father who had devoted his entire life to serving the people with honesty, dedication and a single-mindedness of purpose. His entire political journey was a saga of commitment to the people. I watched him from close quarters, imbibing his values and sense of unwavering commitment to the people. My father, the late Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy, always believed in the principles of honesty and loyalty. He taught me that we should stand by those who remain loyal to us, that we should be true to our word and that we should be prepared to face any consequences, cross any obstacles that lie in our path, in order to fulfil the promises we make. We should always stand by people who place their trust in us. It was with this belief, this conviction, that I took my first big step, keeping my father’s words in mind and seeking the blessings of the Almighty for my cause. It is this conviction which found expression in the form of YSRCP. This is how our party, the people’s party was born. From the day the party was founded, to this day, I have been interacting with the masses constantly, learning about their problems, sharing their sorrows and shouldering the responsibility of fighting for them.

During the course of this journey I had to battle several conspiracies, political rivalry of the meanest kind, attempts to lure my followers and loyalists with money bags—the list of machinations and diabolical plots is long.

I have boundless gratitude to my party men, workers and followers for having reposed their faith, walked alongside me with a sense of trust and loyalty, and who held the principles of honesty and credibility dear to their philosophy of devoting themselves to the service of the people along with me. I have nothing but the deepest gratitude for everyone who stood by me and supported me in these eight years. My profuse thanks to all party workers who celebrated the founding day of YSRCP across the state and other places and who held special programmes to serve the masses on this occasion.

Engineering students from Bapatla met me, holding placards demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. They criticised Chandrababu Naidu for shifting his political stance and for enacting a drama in the name of SCS. They asserted that he had no credibility in the eyes of the people. They said “Anna, we might get some job, find some avenue of employment if SCS is granted to AP. This is our firm belief.” I wondered why our political leadership did not share the vision of these young students who displayed the foresight to understand the benefits of special category status. Bapatla is renowned for horticulture and the flowers in the nurseries here have put the place on the world map. Horticulturists came to me with their problems and said “Sir, during your father’s period, we used to get free power supply. We could sell our flowers at the market and make a decent living. From the time that this government came to power, our electricity bills have shot up to thousands of rupees a month and flowers do not fetch us the required price in the market.” When they expressed their anguish in these words to me, I felt deeply disturbed. This anti-farmer regime seems to bring only troubles to the farmers and pile problems on these poor agriculturists of all shades and hues.

I have a question for the chief minister— you had promised 9 hours of uninterrupted power supply at the time of elections. Is it fair on your part to go back on the promise you had made and deceive the poor farmers of the state, putting them to serious losses?