Growth in Politics
Groomed by a family deeply involved in public service, YSR entered active politics in 1978 and contested elections, four times to enter the State Legislative Assembly and an equal number of times to enter the Lower House of Parliament. A winner in all that he does, YSR won all the elections he contested. Even today his admirers exclaim: “He (YSR) defeats defeat.”
During his 25-year-long political career, YSR has served the people in multiple capacities, both in Government as well as in Party. He was President of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) twice – 1983-1985 and 1998-2000. During 1980-1983, he was a minister holding important portfolios related to Rural Development, Medical & Health and Education etc. From 1999 to 2004 he was the Leader of Opposition in the eleventh state assembly.
As a champion of the masses, his stentorian voice in the assembly, raised particularly during debates that sought to lend voice to the voiceless millions, forced the Government to retrace several anti-people steps it contemplated. YSR has been instrumental in orchestrating several mass struggles, while highlighting issues facing peasants, weavers, Dalits, youth and women. His relentless fight for clearance of pending irrigation projects, particularly in the backward Rayalaseema region, has earned for him a special place in the hearts of millions of farmers. His unremitting struggle against certain anti-people economic measures that were sought to be introduced in the name of “reforms”, including the frequent increases in power tariff and indiscriminate privatization of public sector units, exalted him far above the street smart politicians.
Even as a novice in the legislature, YSR rallied all the Congress MLAs from the Rayalaseema region and led an indefinite hunger strike demanding solution to the water crisis. He also led a Paadayaatra from Lepakshi to Pothireddipadu in Kurnool district. The 14-day hunger strike of legislators under his leadership in August 2000 to register protest against the hike in power charges is still fresh in the memory of people. By systematically exposing the misdeeds of the then Government, both inside and outside the Assembly, YSR was playing his political role to the hilt.
During mid-summer in 2003, he led an unprecedented 1400 Km long Paadayaatra covering all backward areas in the state to understand the ground realities of living conditions of the people there.
Now, as Chief Minister, the crowning glory of this studded political career, he can proudly claim to be the quintessence of a politician who, with vision focused on the coming generations as well, has earned the title of a statesman. Amidst a bewildering number of turncoats among politicians, who thrive in “shifting loyalties”, YSR stands out as a sterling example of the old guard in pristine Indian politics.
This explains why he has never turned his back on the Congress party, which nurtured his political moorings. The lure of power and pelf could not divert him, when the party was briefly out of power, from his mission to hold the reins of power as a trusted lieutenant of the Congress and, more importantly, as a darling of the masses.
Sworn in as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Congress’ victory march continues