Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Late Dr. YS Rajasekhar Reddy  - Sakshi Post

The passage of a personality into eternity is imminent in one’s own life, but the services rendered by him to the people who love him and etch him in their hearts forever as a token of reverence and reciprocation in the same spirit. Of the past fifty four years of the history of Andhra Pradesh, it is no exaggeration that no one is related to this phrase more than Dr Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, whose unparalleled six years of service as Chief Minister to the crores of the people of the state has won him the permanent place in their hearts.

While the average life expectancy of the Indian is more than 70 years of age, the age of 60 years is not a sign of senility for a dynamic leader but of mature wisdom. His rise was gradual, stage by stage. With his wisdom and sense of discrimination he weathered several problems, underwent trials and turbulences and rose up on his own, proving his mettle at every stage. As
the Member of Legislative Assembly, as Member of Parliament and as leader of State Youth Congress he launched himself into the national scene and finally earned the eligibility to become the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

Thus, the political life and personal life of YSR which was progressing with tremendous speed with immense courage and commitment and which is highly individual came to a sudden end due to the helicopter accident which had thrown the people of AP into a bitter unbearable and inconsolable sorrow. The progress people have witnessed, though within the limited measures, during the brief tenure of YSR as the Chief Minister of AP is many times more than what sum progress they have witnessed under the stewardship of other Chief Ministers in the five decades history of the state, had made YSR the man of the people.

There are several of his cherished programmes still await completion, but people have realized the zeal and earnestness bubbling in him in solving the issues of the people developed credibility over his rule. YSR could create in them a sense of bright future dawning in their lives.

The Teluguness in his dress and his sense of service disclosed in deed provided a new definition to politics. The mind committed to plan, well trained bearing, undaunted conduct, discipline, unchanging commitment, complete individuality, close intimacy, gratifying laughter, friendly temperament and perseverance at work- these are the hallmarks of the personality of Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy. It was his zeal to serve people which made him trek relentlessly nearly 1500 kilometers from one corner of the state to another during the 2004 elections.

The same yearning, when he came to power, made him implement several of the promises made earlier in the Congress Election Manifesto besides those which were not promised. Several new projects were thought over and most of them were implemented. The same desire did not keep Rajasekhara Reddy confined to the cozy confines of the secretariat, but made him tread the road to villages (Palle Baata) that mirror the life of common people, to observe how his schemes and plans were being implemented. Then he met them at the central place of the village (Raccha Banda). He wanted to meet people and talk to then-i directly to assess the results of his schemes and programmes.

Finally the same yearning and commitment pushed him unrelentingly forward uncaring the inclement weather which put him to a tragic end. While he moved ahead in his love for the service of people and some of his programmes were achieving unexpected success, his tragic end had thrown the entire state into misery and turmoil.

What Rajasekhara Reddy took up during his stint of six years rule was stupendous. Several of the works he started with strong commitment and determination with the only objective of serving people. The schemes were not aimed at a single group, but directed to the common masses- the poor and the middle classes, weaker sections, peasantry, tradesmen, women, students, teachers and low-paid employees and workers. While he announced and tried to implement these schemes, he had to keep in mind the scopes and limitations imposed by the wealthy, fostered by the capitalist classes and he strenuously tried to bring in some definite schemes for the poor within those limitations.

For years the backs of the farmers had been shattered by the conditions of short rainfall and there was no hope of redressal. As a way out, Rajasekhara chalked out short-term and long-term irrigation schemes. While doing this, he never lost sight of the limitations of his administrative tenure and so he planned to take up 70 irrigation projects. For about 15 to 20 projects, he secured permission of central government after prolonged discussions and lighting for the people. His dreams materialized some 9 to 10 projects, flowing water and joy into the parching fields and hearts of the people. In the days of soaring prices, Rajasekhara Reddy continued the Rs. 2/- Kg rice scheme to the poor.

The government of Rajasekhara Reddy bore a subsidy of around 2,000 crores on this scheme alone to benefit the white card holders. He was not content with the supply of rice only; the poor were also served monthly provisions for Rs. 103/- only. The one characteristic behind this intense desire, which we rarely find in others, is taking of immediate decisions. Never he liked to postpone a thing or deferred a decision.

He saw that the fees of poor students (S.C., S.T. and B.C.) who reached the stage of engineering were borne by the government. In fact, immediately after the swearing in ceremony on 14th May 2004, he affixed his signature as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on the G.O. providing free power to the farmers, fulfilling the earlier promise he made. With a stroke of pen, he relieved the burden on farmers, by repealing the arrears on electricity charges to the extent of Rs. 1300 crores and this act had won the appreciation of one and all.

Besides these, there were several other aspects which drew his attention. There were reforms which could never enter the lives of the poor because of the lacunae in government policies. Setting aside the land disputes pending in the courts of law, he distributed around 6 lakh acres of land in four phases and another one lakh acres in the fifth phase (in April 2010). One noteworthy feature of the fifth phase was awarding of pattas in the names of women. It was a measure adopted so that no injustice is done to women on any pretext or cause.

Of all the welfare measures, the most spectacular, attractive and well lauded scheme was that of Arogyasri, which gave prominent place to the health of the poor and weaker sections of society. Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy became a virtual Hippocrates, who provided ‘Raja’; treatment, for 942 diseases including operations, free of cost. Within a short span of three years, this Arogyasri scheme had provided treatment for about two and a half lakh poor and some middle class patients. The moving service centres of 108 in towns and 104 in villages played a key role in the implementation of this stupendous task. This scheme proved ideal to be emulated by around half a dozen state governments.

The same service motive made the government of Rajasekhara Reddy to take care of providing loans at 25 raise interest rate to DWACRA women, who earlier got loans at 12% interest from banks. Of the loans thus given to DWACRA women, 99% were repaid in time. The government of Rajasekhara Reddy appointed Koneru Ranga Rao committee to conduct survey and measure out land that could be made available for distribution among the poor. In accordance with the recommendations of this committee, Rajasekhara Reddy made over to the government 310 acres of assigned land that was with his family above the ceiling limits. Not only this, he also made over another one thousand acres of land for distribution and became a role model.

Rajasekhara Reddy had the intense desire, perseverance and boundless intellect to which sky is the only limit. Above all he had compassionate love for the people. He had accomplished the mission of his life and he has no death. He is eternal in history.

Since the time of YSR’s swearing in ceremony, his movements among the people, as witness to his endeavour to serve the people, his six dynamic years of rule and many more lively moments up to his tragic sudden death were captured by well known photographer D Ravinder Reddy who traveled along with YSR most of the time. Photographs taken by other photographer friends were also included in this volume to make it coherent. This portrayal speaks of his mission more
eloquently than what words can describe. This pictorial book is a befitting homage paid by Ravinder Reddy to the memory of a great and noble leader YSR - man of the people.

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