Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, a messiah of masses
Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, a messiah of masses. Exactly six years ago, on September 2, the twin-engine Bell 430 helicopter carrying the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy to Chittoor for the launch of Rachhabanda programme crashed into a low hill ending the saga of a charismatic leader, who earned the status of demigod, which no other politician in the State had managed to do so.
Late Chief Minister followers gear up to observe his sixth death anniversary today
Warangal: Exactly six years ago, on September 2, the twin-engine Bell 430 helicopter carrying the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy to Chittoor for the launch of Rachhabanda programme crashed into a low hill ending the saga of a charismatic leader, who earned the status of demigod, which no other politician in the State had managed to do so.
It is no exaggeration to say that YSR is the most loved politician, who endeared himself to the masses in the undivided Andhra Pradesh through his welfare programmes, such as Arogyasri, a community health insurance scheme for BPL families, fee reimbursement, free power and 25-paise interest loans to farmers, 108 Services and Indiramma houses.
Born into a devout Christian family on July 8, 1949, at Pulivendula in Kadapa district, Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy was an aggressive leader right from his student days. After completing MBBS at MR Medical College in Gulbarga, he served as a doctor at Jammalamadugu Mission Hospital for a brief while.
His penchant for public service saw him entering politics in 1978. He was quick to learn the nuances of politics. At the age of 34, he became the youngest politician to hold the post of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president in 1983. The Congress again made him the PCC chief in 1998.
Despite he was tagged as a “permanent dissident” in the Congress, YSR brought the party together after his marathon padayatra in 2003 which impressed 10 Janpath. His 1,500-km ‘Praja Prasthanam’ padayatra from Chevella to Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district in the scorching summer of 2003, a few months before the 2004 general elections, set the tone for the Congress to return to power in the State after a decade.
The epoch-making padayatra not only catapulted the Congress to power but also presented a much-composed and mellifluous YSR before the world. YSR himself admitted that padayatra had brought about a total change in him. Life and livelihoods of the people across the State taught him many a lesson, besides understanding their hardships.
In his little over 30-year political career, YSR was elected to Lok Sabha four times from the Kadapa constituency besides representing Pulivendula five times as a legislator. It is no exaggeration to say that the debate on YSR legacy has been constant in the state politics even after his tragic death in a helicopter crash on September 2, 2009.
On the occasion of YSR’s 6th death anniversary on Wednesday, his followers across both the Telugu-speaking states are geared up for several programmes such as blood donation and poor feeding.
By Adepu Mahender