Jagan Reddy’s win marks the rise of the prodigal son

Jagan Reddy’s win marks the rise of the prodigal son
There is jubilance at the party headquarters of YSR Congress Party as it has routed the ruling party Telugu Desam Party (TDP), in the state assembly elections. The party has 150 seats and leading in one more. TDP has won 21 seats and leading in two more assembly constituencies.

Won/175 Leading
YSR Congress 150 1
TDP 21 2
Jana Sena 1 0

By afternoon yesterday Jagan Reddy camp already sett the stage for his swearing-in ceremony. TDP head Chandrababu Naidu submitted his resignation to the governor.

However, it is also to be noted that TDP has a 39% vote share while YSRC has 50% share of the state’s votes.

Reddy’s legwork


Jagan Reddy has walked in late father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s foothpath, literally. The senior Reddy of Congress party ended nine years of Naidu rule and extensive popularity in 2004, with a padyatra or a walking tour where he walked across every second village in the state.

Jagan too had followed up with his father’s winning plan, with a 429-day padyatra or a match-on-foot and has reportedly met 20 million of his voters along the way—something which helped him win the mandate with a thumping majority.

The issues he took up with them were also high on voters’ minds. One question that Reddy repeatedly reiterated as to why Chandrababu Naidu the head of TDP was unable to get the state a special status in spite of his ‘closeness’ to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The state of Andhra Pradesh which lost its crown jewel Hyderabad, is on a rebuild mode after its division in 2014. In fact, Naidu broke away from National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the issue, but that doesn’t seem to have placated the public.

From Jail to CM’s post

Not too long back, a few years soon after his father’s death in 2009, Jagan Reddy was embroiled in a CBI case which also involved his late father. The duo was accused of colluding and giving away licences and other mining rights to companies and accepting bribes in a disproportionate assets case.

According to a CBI investigation, as much as Rs 43,000 crores were diverted illegally into various businesses owned by him. The Reddy family have varied business interests across sectors like mining, cement, power along with investments in media companies.

As a result of the intense crackdown on black money, Reddy was arrested in 2012 and spent around 16 months in jail. He was released on bail, and the case is still ongoing.

A new party

Last elections in 2014, YSR Congress was routed by the TDP-BJP combine. However, very few political pundits wrote off Jagan, especially after his thumping win at Kadapa by-elections in 2011 which shows that he had popular support. He had then won by a margin of five-and-a-half votes over his nearest Congress rival.

Cracks between Rajesekhar Reddy’s heir apparent Jagan and party leader Sonia Gandhi emerged after she asked him to call off a ‘condolence tour’ that he went on, after his father’s death. The tour came at a time when tensions were ride on the Telangana state division issue. However, Jagan went ahead while defying the new Congress chief minister in power K Rosaiah, and resigned as the party MP in 2010.

Soon after, Jagan took over the reins of the YSR Congress party formed by a fan of his father, and finally led it to its success. One of Y S R Reddy’s poll promises were free electricity and a health insurance programme and reinvigorated a provide rice for Rs 2 per kilo. While his predecessor Naidu concentrated on development, Reddy had successfully countered it with social welfare schemes, winning him two mandates in 2004 and 2009.

With populist schemes, YSR soon turned a regional strongman with his stature elevated to that of a messiah --- which only swelled after his accidental death in 2009.