Jagan is taking a leaf off his father’s book and has announced a 3000km padayatra.

Its padayatra vs padayatra in AP but are CBN and Jagan fighting a battle of empty rhetoric
news Politics Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 17:36

Suddenly, it’s walkathon season in Andhra Pradesh; no, not the ‘stay healthy’ kind - but the ‘stay with my political party’ kind.

YSRCP chief Jaganmohan Reddy recently announced a padayatra across Andhra Pradesh. Considering the elections in the state are at least two years away, the move to consolidate support in the state at this point has raised several eyebrows.

At the YSRCP plenary at Acharya Nagarjuna University in Guntur last week, Jagan Reddy announced an almost manifesto-like list of promises if his party came to power. The nine promises were promptly dubbed the ‘Navaratnas of YSRCP’ by the party top brass.

Combined with this, he also introduced political strategist Prashant Kishor to his party members at the plenary meeting, as an advisor to the YSRCP. Prashant Kishor is seen as an architect of several electoral victories - including that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

The venue also hosted Jagan’s drumming up of election fever with the announcement of a padayatra from Idupulapaya to Ichapuram, starting on October 27 this year. The walkathon aims at covering both the corners of the state in a duration of six months, covering 13 districts and a distance of 3000 km.

Jagan is clearly inspired by his father and former Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy. YSR had taken out a massive padayatra, named ‘Prasthanam’, in the summer of 2003, ahead of the 2004 Assembly elections. The padayatra was one of the important factors in his winning the election and becoming Chief Minister.

In fact, Jagan also declared that he would like to be Chief Minister for 30 years.

The ruling TDP is mocking the early politicking by Jagan Reddy. Taking a dig at the YSRCP leader, TDP spokesperson Vijay Kumar Neelaympalli said, “In a way, he has accepted his defeat by introducing Prashant Kishor. He’s brought him in as a last hope."

He also claimed that the nine promises of Jagan were just "sophisticated" versions of what Chandrababu Naidu is already doing in the state.

But election fever hasn’t just caught Jagan. As per reports and according to key functionaries in the Telugu Desam Party, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has scheduled a ‘counter reach out programme’, named ‘Intintiki Telugu Desam’ (Telugu Desam in every home). The padayatra across 175 constituencies in the state will go on for two months, starting September 17.

Vijay Kumar, though, tried to play down the programme. "The programme won't be a time consuming affair. It will last less than 100 days. The Chief Minister is busy looking after the very important jobs of developing the new capital, irrigation projects in Andhra, and other welfare programmes,” he said.

While the rival parties are starting an early electoral battle, political analysts in the state are not amused. Some say, that both Chandrababu Naidu and Jaganmohan Reddy lack political vision.

Prof Dr E Venkatesh, a political analyst, feels that the government has failed to enforce mechanisms to deliver welfare schemes to the people of the state.

“Obviously the opposition will try to gain ground in such a situation,” he said.

Bringing up the recent, unprecedented deaths in the state, Venkatesh said, “The CM always speaks about good governance, but it’s high time he starts addressing questions on public health.”

The analyst also slammed Jagan Reddy, terming his desire to be Chief Minister for 30 years as ‘over ambitious’.

“This shows that none of these political parties understand the idea of social justice,” he said.

"We cannot predict that these yatras would help them, since the impact is always a subjective matter,” he added.

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