‘Her party will be an independent entity and has nothing to do with her brother’s YSR Congress in AP’.
Y.S. Sharmila, 47, younger sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, has stirred up Telangana politics this week as she has decided to enter active public life here. Sharmila has almost made up her mind to launch a political party in Telangana and fight the next Assembly elections which are due in 2023.
Her political party is likely to be named as YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP), though its details are not announced officially in view of the ongoing registration process with the Election Commission of India. The process is expected to take a couple of months, according to sources close to her. Her party will be an independent entity and has nothing to do with her brother’s YSR Congress in AP.
Sharmila’s meetings with her late father Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s fans and supporters in Telangana at her Lotus Pond residence in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad from 9 February, have generated enough political heath and curiosity among political circles. BJP and Congress have alleged that she was being promoted by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrsekhar Rao (KCR).
Their theory was that KCR was behind the launch of her party as he wants to divide the Opposition vote which is growing since recently. BJP leaders say that TRS leadership has come out with a plan to confuse people with a new entrant and split the anti-establishment vote. Since the Dubbaka Assembly bypoll and GHMC elections, TRS is not faring well at the polls.
- Jagan distanced himself from her political activities, but Sharmila continued her deliberations with her supporters from different Telangana districts this week and received overwhelming response. On the first day, she declared that her intention was to bring back “Rajanna Rajyam” (rule of her late father Rajasekhara Reddy) in Telangana. “People haven’t forgotten my father even 11 years after his death and there is a real need to strive for his ideals in Telangana now,” she said.
The TRS leadership is cautiously silent in view of its friendly ties with CM Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.
At the time, YSR Congress leadership has taken care to make it clear that Jagan has nothing to do with Sharmila’s decision to launch a political party in Telangana. YSR Congress spokesman and Jagan’s chief adviser Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy has clarified Jagan’s line on Sharmila party.
“They both (Jagan and Sharmila) have different opinions (on launching a political party in Telangana), but don’t have any differences. We have tried our level best to dissuade Sharmila from plunging into active politics which is a tough area, but her decision is (her) conscious choice. She feels there is a political vacuum in Telangana,” said Reddy earlier this week.
He made it clear that neither Jagan nor YSR Congress will have anything to do with Sharmila’s new political party in Telangana. In fact, Jagan has decided against continuing YSR Congress in Telangana after the bifurcation of combined AP in June 2014 as it would create unnecessary bad blood among people of the two states, said Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy.
Jagan distanced himself from her political activities, but Sharmila continued her deliberations with her supporters from different Telangana districts this week and received overwhelming response. On the first day, she declared that her intention was to bring back “Rajanna Rajyam” (rule of her late father Rajasekhara Reddy) in Telangana.
“People haven’t forgotten my father even 11 years after his death and there is a real need to strive for his ideals in Telangana now,” she said, after interacting with followers from Nalgonda district on 9 February. Sharmila plans to visit a few districts in the state before embarking on a Padayatra (walkathon) from somewhere later.
Already, some former legislators and other second-rung leaders from Congress have been spotted at her meetings for the last few days while some other seniors from other parties are expected to join her in the coming days. It is to be seen if she can attract some heavy weights from the ruling TRS too as is being claimed by Sharmila followers.
At the same time, Sharmila’s decision to launch a political party of her own has created a lot of commotion back home in Andhra. While Opposition TDP has described the development as a result of CM Jagan’s “authoritarian” stand within the family or his party, others feel that Sharmila should have been given some kind of post—either a Rajya Sabha seat or a ministerial job in the state.
After all, Sharmila had taken up the entire responsibility of running YSR Congress when Jagan was in jail seven years ago. She continued his Padayatra in two phases, covering around 3,800 km, in both AP and Telangana. Her famous dialogue at the rallies in those days—“Nenu Jagananna vodila banaanni” (I am an arrow shot by my brother Jagan)—is still remembered by many till today.
Whether or not Sharmila makes any impact in Telangna is a question that can only be answered after a few months, but one thing is clear that she has entered the political waters of Telangana with a clear mind and a strategy in hand. Sharmila refuses to be seen as someone outsider—from AP—as she claims that she was born and brought up in Hyderabad and very much a native of Telangana.