Neglect of second-rung leaders led to YSRC downfall?

Sarpanches, MPTC members, and local leaders in Uttarandhra moved away from the party unable to bear the authoritarian rule of ‘sitting MLAs.
YSRC party symbol used for representation.
YSRC party symbol used for representation.Photo | X

SRIKAKULAM: Did the YSRC lose the recent Assembly elections in the district because it neglected the second-rung leaders of the party?

Sarpanches, MPTC members and village level leaders, who form the bulwark of the party in villages, gradually moved away from the YSRC after the leadership stopped paying any attention to them. This apart, the funds meant for the panchayats under the 14th and 15th Finance Commission did not reach them as the State government had diverted them to fund the welfare schemes.

In some constituencies, the sitting MLAs and their families became the tormentors. They resorted to corruption, encroachment of lands and indulged in political one-upmanship in their areas all the time. The anti-incumbency against them seems to have done the YSRC in, the elections in Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Parvathipuram-Manyam districts for the first time.

YSRC party symbol used for representation.
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Though the general opinion was that there would be a fierce battle between the YSRC and NDA, the results revealed that the battle was one-sided in favour of the NDA. The North Coastal Andhra happens to be the stronghold for the YSRC. Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Parvathipuram-Manyam districts are its bastions. In 2019, all the second-rung leaders worked hard for the party’s victory. They fought against the then Janmabhoomi committees of the TDP regime.

Hundreds of second-rung leaders faced criminal cases ‘registered’ by the TDP government for questioning its policies. When YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took out Praja Sankalpa Yatra as Opposition Leader, there was an overwhelming response. It all translated into a groundswell for the party in the 2019 elections. The party made a clean sweep in the erstwhile undivided Vizianagaram. It won all the 11 seats under the leadership of senior leader Botcha Satyanarayana. Similarly, senior leader Dharmana Prasada Rao led the YSRC to victory in Srikakulam. The party won six of the eight seats in Srikakulam. But during the last five years, the second-rung leaders felt that they were being marginalised in the party.

Sarpanches, MPTC members and other village-level leaders were disconnected from the village/ward volunteer system introduced by Jagan. Besides, mandal-level leaders faced a severe financial crisis due to non-clearance of the pending bills for the works executed in villages. Though the leaders poured out their grievances against the sitting MLAs, the party leadership turned a deaf ear. Several mandal-level leaders staged huge protests, rallies and dharnas against their sitting MLAs in Srungavarapukota, Etcherla, Pathapatnam, Rajam, Amadalavalasa, Palasa, Nellimarla and Vizianagaram Assembly segments. There was no result.

In the 2024 elections, the YSRC leadership fielded sitting MLAs in all constituencies except Rajam despite opposition from the second-rung leaders. The party shifted Rajam sitting MLA Kambala Jogulu to Payakaraopeta in Anakapalli district, and fielded Tale Rajesh in his place. Fielding of sitting MLAs led to the second-rung leaders staying away from the election campaign. Several leaders were forced to participate in the election campaign due to pressure from the YSRC social media wing and I-PAC.

Speaking to TNIE, a senior YSRC leader said, “I have worked hard for the YSRC from 2014 to 2019. I have faced several criminal cases. I felt very happy when the YSRC recorded a landslide victory with 151 Assembly and 22 Parliamentary seats in the 2019 elections. I have spent a lot of money on several contract works and the local body elections held after the YSRC came to power. But the government did not clear my pending bills. Besides, there were no funds in the panchayats as the government diverted the 14th and 15th Finance Commission funds to finance its welfare schemes. No party can survive without the support of the second-rung leaders and the cadres. They are the backbone of the party. However, the YSRC high command ignored the cadres.”

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