HYDERABAD: There are no elections around the corner in Andhra Pradesh, yet the leaders of the two regional parties, Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress, are busy crisscrossing the state. The next elections to the Assembly are scheduled only for 2014, but the state tours of TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy have created a stir.
Jagan started his Odarpu Yatra six months after the death of his father and former chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. The yatra is intended to console the kin of those who died of shock after the death of YSR Reddy. Congress party’s central leadership directed him to call off his yatra. Jagan defied them leading to a fallout between him and the high command. Though Jagan’s political adversaries tried to prevent him from continuing the yatra, but even after two years of YSR Reddy’s death, Jagan continues with his yatra. Experts believe that the reason behind continuing with the yatra is to keep himself in the limelight. Jagan is banking on his father’s popularity to return to power in the state.
Jagan’s message to people is: “You have witnessed golden era in the state during YSR Reddy’s regime. If you want the same golden era again, vote for YSR Congress.”
There has been a change in his attitude in the last one year of his yatra. In the initial days, Jagan used to take digs at AICC president Sonia Gandhi. Now he is mainly targeting the state Congress leaders, while sparing the Delhi Congress leaders. TDP leaders believe Jagan has a secret understanding with Congress leaders in Delhi, beefing up their contention by saying that Jagan is not targeting Sonia anymore. They say Jagan may merge his party with the Congress sooner or later.
Giving company to Jagan, 61-year-old Chandrababu Naidu is also progressing ahead in his Rytu Poru Padayatra. Under his padyatra he has covered all the districts except Nellore. Naidu walks around 15 km to 20 km in each district to know the problems of the farmers and console them.
When asked whether the timing of his padayatra, two years ahead of elections, is good, Naidu retorted: “I am not doing it for the sake of power. My aim is to make the vocation of agriculture a profitable venture.”
As Naidu’s yatra concludes this month, TDP plans to woo the youths next. Workshops will be organised for youths below the age of 35. The TDP is of the opinion that Jagan wields enormous clout with the youth. To counter this, Naidu is planning youth conventions besides roping in cine actor Balakrishna into active politics.