Reporter’s Diary: Colossal rise of Jagan Reddy

Kriti Mishra

Vijayawada: YSR Congress Party President YS Jaganmohan Reddy is greeted by his supporters as he arrives for his swearing-in ceremony, at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium in Vijayawada, Thursday, May 30, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Vijayawada: YSR Congress Party President YS Jaganmohan Reddy is greeted by his supporters as he arrives for his swearing-in ceremony, at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium in Vijayawada, Thursday, May 30, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Why do filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap feel that YSRCP’s Jagan Reddy’s Rise makes for a Brilliant Film?

Well because his story has all the elements for a stellar Bollywood film- ignominy, vindication, grit, perspiration and success.

For the last three months, I have visited Andhra Pradesh more than I have visited my family, so let me first take you down the memory lane and get you glimpses of my experience.

It was after the General elections were announced in March that I first landed in Vijayawada for election coverage. My 6-year experience of election coverage has convinced me that analysis of the taxi driver can never be erroneous and I have actually started to vouch for it. As I travelled from one destination to another(Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Nellore, Guntur, Amravati) with different drivers I could hear only one sentence- JAGAN MANCHIVADU.

For this Telugu phrase, they had different interpretations – Jagan is the best, Jagan is my hero, Jagan is great…But why hero? then experts and journalists told me about his life and I will simply reproduce the facts now.

Visualise September 2009… Andhra Pradesh is jittery… it is immersed in gloom. Chief Minister Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhar Reddy, popularly known as YSR, lost his life to a chopper crash in the Nallamalla forests.

One of the stalwarts of the Congress party… Reddy had wrested Andhra Pradesh back from the TDP… and his demise left a vacuum. Analysts recall, how grieving YSR’s son, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy stood steady next to his mother Vijayamma and sister Sharmila.

Jagan an industrious businessman lived in Bengaluru, away from the political spotlight. He made his electoral debut in 2009 on a Congress ticket, when his father led the party to power for the second time in a row. He was elected from Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency, considered a citadel of the YSR family.

After his father’s untimely death, the Congress high command reposed faith on K Rosaiah as YSR’s successor due to his seniority and Jagan, who was clamouring for the top post, was left disappointed.

Jagan embarked on an Odarpu yatra to console the families of those who died of shock on hearing the news about YSR’s death—hugely upsetting the Congress leadership. The Congress by then had inducted Jagan’s uncle YS Vivekananda Reddy into Rosaiah’s cabinet. This move exasperated Jagan who alleged that the Congress was trying to drive a wedge in the Reddy family.

Jagan then nixed all ties with the Congress party and also resigned from the Lok Sabha. In 2011, Jagan launched Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party.

However, In May 2012, Jagan was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a disproportionate assets case. The Enforcement Directorate also started investigating him for money laundering. He spent around 16 months in jail. The Reddy’s refuted all charges and called the move orchestrated for political vendetta.

When Jagan was behind the bars, his mother anchored the party and his sister Sharmila conducted a padayatra.

After the release from jail in 2013, Jagan started building the party and undertook Padayatra reminiscent of his father’s Padayatras. He set a new record through 14-month-long padayatra, which ended in January this year traversing a distance of 3,640 km on foot.

Arduous and unflinching endeavours have catapulted his party to capture the throne of Amravati today. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party has been elected to power with a massive mandate of 151 seats in the 175-member state assembly. In the Lok Sabha, the YSR Congress Party lawmakers will now represent 22 of 25 state’s parliamentary constituencies.

After this euphoric rise, Jagan has several challenges ahead…the clamour for Special Category Status, making Amravati world-class Capital, completion of Polavaram Project and then the most difficult part…to tread on a fiscal consolidation path.

Well as Jagan waits for his new innings, and I wait for the movie on his rise.

-Kriti Mishra