Rajsekhar Reddy was the second of five brothers. In the beginning the Reddy family were land-owners of southern Andhra Pradesh but their status improved during the 1970s and 1980s by mining of barite which is an industrial mineral used in the oil industry. According to the mother of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, it was Reddy’s grandfather who was converted to Christianity by a British missionary, Father Rolls. Right from his student days Rajasekhara Reddy showed interest in politics. He was made the President of the Students union while he was studying in the M R Medical College at Gulbarga, Karnataka. Reddy also served as the leader of the Association of House Surgeons in S V Medical College, Tirupati. For a brief period, he had also served as a Medical Officer at the Jammalamadugu Mission Hospital after finishing his MBBS in the Diocese of Nandyal. In the year 1971, YSR married Smt. Vijayalakshmi and the couple bore son Jagan Mohan Reddy who is presently a politician. They also have a daughter, named, Sharmila Y.S Vivekananda Reddy. In the year 1973, at Pulivendula, Reddy had established a medium sized hospital comprising of 70-beds and named it after his father Y.S. Raja Reddy. Even today the hospital continues to serve the poor. His family had established a polytechnic and a degree college in Pulivendula, which in the later stages were handed over to the renowned Loyola group. Sharp insight and apt business acumen had given YSR Reddy immense success in the world of business.
YSR entered active politics in 1978. He contested in four elections to be a part of the State Legislative Assembly and contested the same number of times to become a Member of the Lower House of Parliament. YSR had won all the elections in which he had participated. Reddy had an eventful 25-year political career which he started as a samithi president and later served as a youth congress leader. At the age of 28, he won the ensuring elections in the year 1978 with the ticket of the Indian National Congress. For a brief period he served as minister in Tanguturi Anjaiah cabinet. Then the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi entrusted the potential leader with as the Pradesh Congress Committee president at the age of 34. For four times Dr. Reddy represented Kadapa constituency as Member of Parliament of India and as a Member of Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh and also same number of times from the Pulivendula constituency. The timeline of his political career unfurls the fact that Reddy had never lost a single election.
He was a man of the masses and raised his voice for the many helpless people. He also made the Government to alter many of the steps which it had taken, in the assembly. While bringing out issues facing peasants, weavers, Dalits, youth and women, YSR played an instrumental role in planning several mass struggles. He unyieldingly fought for the approval of awaiting irrigation projects, particularly in the backward Rayalaseema region. All these earned him a special place with the farmers. In the name of "reforms", he continuously struggled against certain anti-people economic measures that were sought to be introduced and which included the frequent increases in power tariff and unsystematic privatization of public sector units. Such steps took him far more than just a street-smart politician.
Even as a beginner in the legislature, on the demand of the solution to the water causes YSR rallied all the Congress MLAs from the Rayalaseema region and led an indefinite hunger strike. He also took up padayatra for 64 days that stretched to an extent of 1500 km from Chevella in the Telengana to Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district in the summer of 2003. In order to protest against the hike in power charges the 14 day hunger strike which Reddy carried out is still afresh. His Yatra took him closer to the poor and rural people and at the same time, it was well received by all the sections of the society.
After taking oath as Chief Minister in 2004 he allotted a large share to the agriculture sector. His policies were always centered on defending agriculture by giving sops to small and marginalised farmers, along with building up new infrastructure. During the first two years of his tenure a large sum of Rs.16000 crore were spent for building of irrigation projects. Chief Minister Reddy had designed programmes to help the poor and the agriculturists.
As an election promise to the farmers of Andhra Pradesh, he had implemented 'Jalayagnam' to enhance the area under irrigation within five years. The project comprised a number of irrigation projects, like construction of new reservoirs and lift irrigation systems, and through canals to divert water from major rivers. The project also included connecting of the two main rivers like the Lord Krishna and the Godavari. A Special Package of Relief & Rehabilitation was announced by the state government for the distressed farmers. The State government had also set up a lot of projects aiming at economic empowerment of farmers, “Agricultural Technology Mission" (ATM) with effect from 15th January 2006 was one of the main projects out of the many. On 30th March 2006, Reddy had also launched a programme namely Indiramma programme. According to this scheme the Government was supposed to build roads, construct houses and classrooms, and take up other development programmes under this project. The grant of IIT to the state was also announced by him amongst the cheers of members in the state assembly. He was also successful in bringing the US consulate to Hyderabad. As a Chief Minister, he can pompously be claimed to be the personification of a politician who, focused on the coming generations and had earned the status of a statesman.
YSR Reddy reflected the spirit of a true Indian whose words were reflected through his actions. His thought was dressed with all that was modern and dignifying. YSR as a Chief Minister expected bureaucrats to do their jobs particularly, and present before him only facts that are sheared of all publicity-oriented and scheming figures. It was his humane principle that impelled him to take revolutionary steps to guarantee delivery of social security pensions to the needy in the first week of every month. The ultimate objective of any programme that was carried out under the democratic set-up of Reddy was promptness and well being of the people. He wanted to balance the approach towards giving thrust to information technology, biotechnology and all sectors that enhance industrial and agricultural production.
Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy died in a helicopter crash in the dense Nallamala forest on 3rd of September, 2009. His unexpected death has been a loss not only to the state of Andhra Pradesh but also to the entire country as a whole. On 2nd of September, 2009, Reddy’s helicopter went missing at around 9. 35 a.m. and were broken from all kinds of communication. Finally the destroyed chopper could be spotted only after 24 hours of the incident. As the wrecked copter was discovered it was found that all the passengers aboard including the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh had died. All the national leaders have expressed deep grievance on the death of the great persona Dr. Y.S Rajsekhar Reddy.
(Last Updated on : 05-09-2009)
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