Andhra Pradesh, which helped win 33 seats a major chunk of seats from South India, is no more a Congress citadel ever since it lost its shining jewel Dr. Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy who lost his life in a helicopter crash about two years back. That fateful day turned out to be a shock to all Andhrits especially the masses at the lower strata of society. As a veteran leader of Indian National Congress and as an administrator par excellence Dr.Reddy could act as a unifying force among various parties. Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) led by Chandra Sekhar Rao’s repeated demands for a separate Telangana State were very much in the air but Dr. Reddy’s administrative acumen helped to mollify the aggressive stand of Mr.Rao. As a close confident of Sonia Gandhi and a great influence at Central government Dr.Reddy could prevail upon the Centre for extending massive help to Andhra Pradesh which helped the down-trodden a lot. Various social reform measures he introduced like rice for 2 Rs/Kg, announcement of minimum support price for rice, reimbursment of tuition fees to the students belonging to backward sections and many other social reform measures and he got a applause from international media like BBC.
Anyhow many a one will have reservations when it comes to his ruthless suppression of Maoists which led to a massive carnage of educated, unemployed, youth, instead what he should have concentrated on was bettering the lot of such youth by paving the way for creating circumstances for them joining the national mainstream. No one will for fun’s sake get active in a revolutionary group like Maoists, mind you, bracketing them with terrorist outfits is unbecoming of a leader whoever he might be. These youths get attracted to revolutionary ideals and slogans when majority since decades undergo hardships and voluntarily come forward to extend a helping hand by grouping them under one umbrella and lead from the front naturally they take up as their mission. The path adopted by them for achieving their goals turns violent and lead to bloodshed which a democratic government won’t take in its stride. But on digging deeper into the circumstances which forced the youths and tribals to join revolutionary movement, we could very well come to the conclusion that the ultimate responsibility and blame rest upon the ruling regime.
Let’s come to Dr.Rajasekhara Reddy, the great historic Padayatra he organised while in opposition across the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh catapulted him to be a great leader of the Grand Old Party against the ‘misrule’ of Chandra Babu Naidu, Telugu Desam Party leader. Yes, a misrule it was in its literal sense as he never cared to pay heed to the demands of those at the lower pyramid of society instead paid all his attention to building a hi-tech Andhra Pradesh turning the city of Hyderabad to Cyberabad, while the poor ones were starving led to his ouster at the hustings.
In his place Dr.Rajasekhara Reddy assumed power with Congress gaining massive majority and there was no looking back since then.
Under a good team, Dr.Reddy began to rule and gave a new face-lift to the State of Andhra Pradesh. His massive mandate in the Assembly got reflected in Parliament too, which helped in a long way to enable the Congress Party emerge as the single largest party in Lok Sabha.
While he was reigning supreme, fate dealt a cruel blow in the form of copter crash which took away the life of Dr.Reddy. Dr.Reddy’s, unfortunate and untimely death was a rude shock to the State of Andhra and an aftermath the State witnessed dozens and dozens of immolation deaths. Such was the intensity of the sorrow of people of Andhra.
The heir-apparent Jag Mohan Reddy though staked claim to form a govt in the place of his veteran father, the High Command chose a man of integrity and a prominent Minister Rossaih as his successor as Chief Minister. Jag Mohan Reddy’s inexperience as a ruler was the main obstacle in choosing him as his father’s successor. But Rossaih’s election to the post of CM drove a cleavage in the Party with one section joining hands with Jag Mohan Reddy who by that time was determined to split the Party. The High Command took maximum care not to play spoil-sport and keep him in good humour but couldn’t succeed for long. Dynastic succession has turned out to be an obsession of Indian politicians be it at the centre or a few of the other States.
Evenwhile Jag Mohan Reddy rejecting the direction of Congress High Command embarked on a Padayatra following in the foot-steps of his father, the Congress was reluctant to take action against him and on the contrary Jag Mohan Reddy was in the meantime braving the leadership to take action against him.
At last, two-three days before, he unilaterally tendered his resignation from the Party and his MLA post as also his mother Vijayalakshmi, who too followed him and vacated her MP post.
While such developments were afoot, Rossaih was shown the door though he claims it was due to personal reasons and poor helth. In his place Kiran Reddy, the Speaker of Assembly assumed the Chief Ministerial post. Tough times are in store for him no doubt about that. It is a forgone conclusion that Indian National Congress will not be the same for a long period to come and Andhra politics certainly is going to be embroiled in muddied waters.