The Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and YSRCP president, YS Jaganmohan Reddy stands on the cusp of yet another major milestone on his mass contact initiative, Praja Sankalpa Yatra.
As the mass leader reaches the important landmark of 2000 kms on his long Padayatra, we have seen how the common citizens across all the districts that he has covered, have rushed to him with their grievances, complaints and problems. We have seen how he has responded patiently by listening to them, encouraging those who deserved to be patted on the back and assuring others of all help and assistance.
In him, the poor and deprived see his father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who also set out on a similar walkathon in scorching summer, in his case, across undivided Andhra Pradesh. Like him they see his son braving the scorching summer heat to meet them, interact with them and lend a patient ear to their problems and always ready to help them, console and reassure them and promise to support them in every possible way.
YS Jagan set out on his Praja Sankalpa Yatra on November 6 from Idupulapaya after paying respects to his father’s memory, with a vow to wipe the tears of the poor and bring in Rajanna Rajyam. Along every step of the way, as he interacted with the masses, men, women, the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled and people from virtually all segments of society came to him pleading for help and assistance, complaining about the tyranny and exploitation of the ruling party leaders.
Whether it was Dr. YSR Cuddapah district, Kurnool, Chittoor, Anantapur, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna districts, so far, the complaints about the ruling TDP government have been the same. Indifference of the government towards the poorest of the poor, in all fields, is clearly visible. Farmers suffer from inadequate water supply, lack of support price for their produce and the government’s betrayal of its much-touted promise of loan waiver. Across all districts, including the most prosperous ones such as Guntur and Krishna, agriculturists sadly, have been sinking into an abyss of borrowings and debts from which they are unable to extricate themselves. The Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly has seen the suffering of the farmer for himself in village after village in all the districts that he has covered so far. He has assured farmers everywhere that he would restore the provider to his former glory and be given his rightful place under Rajanna Rajyam, as his father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy had done.
DWCRA groups to whom Chandrababu Naidu had promised loan waivers only to betray them, poured out their woes to the YSRCP chief in hundreds of villages across the state as his Padayatra coursed through district after district. The YSRCP chief assured them in his interaction with them that he would do justice to them.Widows are denied their pensions and the elderly suffer everywhere. YS Jagan saw this in practically every single village of every single district that he has covered so far. He has assured the elderly everywhere that they would not be left to fend for themselves at an age when society needs to support them. His government, would stand by them when the YSRCP comes to power, he said, throughout his Padayatra.
Dr YS Rajashekhar Reddy’s pioneering healthcare initiative, Arogyasri, has been watered down and its scope narrowed to a point where it has become meaningless. Several instances reflecting this came to the fore, during the course of YS Jagan’s Padayatra. The poor in Andhra Pradesh do not have access to good healthcare either in their own state or neighbouring states such as Telangana, Tamil Nadu or Karnataka. They cannot take a critically ill person in dire need of treatment to Hyderabad, Bengaluru or Chennai because the hospitals there refuse to recognise the Arogyasri scheme. The State government has failed to extend the cover of this healthcare scheme to other states and even within Andhra Pradesh, has narrowed down its scope making it impossible for the poor to meet the expenses of treatment for sickness. YS Jagan has pointed this anomaly out in speech after speech and also in his interactions with the people everywhere. He has promised to provide healthcare cover to the poor in Andhra Pradesh extending its scope and widening its reach to include other states as well.
The list of promises made by Chandrababu Naidu on the eve of 2014 elections with the selfish objective of gaining power, is long and endless.The unemployed find themselves at the receiving end four years after the TDP government has been formed. No unemployment allowance as promised by him is being given and jobs have virtually dried up. This grievance resonated in every village on YS Jagan’s Padayatra. In all his meetings and rallies, the YSRCP chief has promised unemployed youth of the state of addressing their problem on a priority basis once his party comes to power.
The fee reimbursement scheme was another landmark achievement of the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy. In village after village, town after town, in all the districts, people across the state met the Leader of the Opposition and told him how their children got educated only on account of this pioneering scheme. They also complained about how students in AP today were denied fee reimbursement by the Chandrababu Naidu dispensation.
YS Jagan has been emphasising on the importance of education everywhere, recollecting his father’s words that education and health are two important aspects of day-to-day life wherein the poor tend to spend the most and often incur debts. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been the lone warrior fighting for Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh over the past four years. The people of the state are aware of this as can be seen in their overwhelming response to his Padayatra everywhere, from Idupulapaya to Kaikaluru, thus far, as his walkathon approaches Eluru. They know that he is a man of commitment, a man who is true to his word. They saw this when the five MPs belonging to YSRCP resigned from the Lok Sabha on the last day of the Budget Session after their No-Trust vote motion was not taken up by the Speaker of the Lower House. They saw how the members of Parliament went on a hunger strike demanding Special Category Status, in contrast to the dramas staged by Chandrababu Naidu. They saw how in all these years YS Jagan has been stressing upon the importance of SCS to the state and has been pointing out how SCS would result in employment generation and the investment opportunities which it would bring along with it.
If there is one single point which evokes spontaneous anger among the people of Andhra Pradesh over and above several others, it is the rampant corruption in the state under the TDP today. Amaravati is a glowing symbol of Chandrababu Naidu’s greed. TDP leaders at the highest level, Chandrababu’s proxies, ministers, officials, MLAs and others came together to rob the farmers of their lands around the capital region as people told the Leader of the Opposition when he visited these parts. Land grabbing had reached an all-time high under TDP rule and land records were fudged in many places, people told the YSRCP President. What he heard from them in Guntur and Krishna districts was only a re-affirmation of what he had been hearing from people in his Padayatra everywhere and also over the last four years.
Sand mining took place right under the nose of the chief minister, people told YS Jagan. Sand mining mafias controlled villages, lake beds, sand reaches and river beds everywhere they told him along every step of the Padayatra. Janmabhoomi committees ruled the roost everywhere, people from villages told the YSRCP chief. They overruled the decisions of local Sarpanches and officers and dictated terms to the villagers across the state. They had become extra constitutional centres of power and symbolised corruption at the village level everywhere. The suffering masses pleaded with YS Jagan everywhere on his Padayatra to liberate them from the tyranny of the TDP rule.
Women in all the districts complained about the growing number of atrocities against them and in particular, against dalits and the poorest sections of society who suffered the most. The perpetrators in many cases were TDP men. The government remained a mute spectator. The police remained indifferent. They had no one to turn to, they pointed out. YS Jagan reassured women and people from all other sections of society of justice throughout his Padayatra. When women and the poor told him that they were eagerly waiting for the YSRCP to come to power, he assured them that Rajanna Rajyam would soon be ushered in. He told them that governance under his party would be predicated on Navarathnalu to ensure that justice is meted out to all strata of society.
2000 kms amidst the masses shows the commitment of the YSRCP chief towards the people of the state. The spontaneity with which people everywhere have walked alongside YS Jagan—Dalits, Tribals, BC communities and minorities, mirrors the love and affection they have for him, the adoration with which they look up to him, as also their hopes and aspirations. They know that it is only a matter of time before their leader delivers justice to them and brings in Rajanna Rajyam to set Andhra Pradesh on the path of progress.