VIJAYAWADA: YSRC supremo YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s Praja Sankalpa Yatra, touted as the longest padayatra by a politician in India and seen as a game changer in the coming elections by the rank and file of the party, will culminate into a massive public meeting in Ichchapuram of Srikakulam district on Wednesday.
Covering the length and breadth of the State (3,648 km) and interacting with an estimated over two crore people from various sections of the society, Jagan touched upon the alleged failures of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s regime. He also went on to highlight his party’s ‘navaratnas’ on which the party is banking to come back to power. The yatra commenced on November 6, 2017 at Idupulapaya in Kadapa district.
Jagan, who like his father and former Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy’s Praja Prasthanam in 2003, has been on the walkathon for 341 days. Many likened Jagan’s Praja Sankalpa Yatra to his father’s marathon that covered 1,450 km in around 60 days, but the party feels that Jagan’s yatra was much more successful.
“When compared between the two, YSR’s marathon in united AP was riddled with more unfavourable conditions — the former Chief Minister had many adversaries from within Congress, particularly from Telangana Congress leaders. Jagan, however, is a high command by himself and is heading a regional party and has more facilities and media exposure,” a party senior leader said. However, he was quick to add Praja Sankalpa Yatra was more successful when seen in terms of people’s support and participation.
Padayatras have been a family tradition — Jagan’s sister YS Sharmila undertook a marathon when her brother was lodged in prison in the illegal assets case.
YSR took out Praja Prasthanam Yatra amidst opposition from the Telangana Congress leaders and it triggered the race for the CM post in the party instead of ironing out differences among the senior leaders. However, Jagan doesn’t have any such opposition, he said. YSR’s Praja Prasthanam — a film on the yatra will hit the screens soon — steered the Congress into power in AP and catapulted YSR as the party’s undisputed CM candidate. The YSRC is hoping for a similar result with Jagan’s walkathon. Jagan, who walked 12 km to 15 km daily, highlighted the failures of the TDP regime, including failure to fight for Special Category Status to AP, farm loan waiver, pending DWCRA loans and housing schemes.
Jagan’s padayatra faced many hurdles, including feet infections, fever and illness, bee attacks and rains and halted for over a fortnight after the attack on him at the Visakhapatnam airport on October 25 last, he said. Jagan was attacked in the airport’s VIP lounge by a restaurant staffer with a rooster knife and he suffered an injury on his shoulder. He flew to Hyderabad and took rest till November 11 last and continued the yatra with no other hurdles.
Bitter sweet news for YSRC
In what is seen as a minor jolt to the YSRC, party senior leader Gattamaneni Adiseshagiri Rao, brother of actor Krishna, is said to have decided to quit the party. It is said Adiseshagiri Rao sent his resignation letter to Jagan Mohan Reddy and is mulling to join TDP. Sources said Adiseshagiri Rao aspired to contest Guntur MP seat, but the YSRC wanted him to contest from Vijayawada, which the leader rejected.
In a related development, party leader from Vijayawada, Vangaveeti Radha, who is maintaining a distance with the YSRC after reportedly being told he would not be contesting the Vijayawada Central seat, is said to have opted not to attend the Wednesday’s public meeting at Ichchapuram citing that “he was not invited” by the party.
On the positive side for the party, BC Aikya Vedika State president Buddha Nageswara Rao, the brother of Krishna district TDP MLC, joined the YSRC in the presence of Jagan Mohan Reddy in Ichchapuram.