Telangana malnourished under KCR, my party is ray of hope: YS Sharmila

Telangana malnourished under KCR, my party is ray of hope: YS Sharmila

There is hectic activity going on at the office of YS Sharmila at Lotus Pond in Hyderabad’s Film Nagar. The political environment on the sprawling campus is welcoming and people who come to meet Sharmila are not subjected to multiple checks, as seen in other political offices. The 47-year-old daughter of the late Congress stalwart and former Andhra Pradesh (erstwhile) chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy is on her toes, making arrangements for the grand launch of her new party in Telangana in four months.

Just a month back, Sharmila had emerged out of seven years of life away from politics, and sprung a surprise on all by announcing her fresh political innings and plans to float a party in Telangana.

The 1973-born is not a political novice. She has been a star campaigner for her brother YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) during elections and was responsible for the great going of the party when he was in jail for 16 months in the disproportionate assets and quid pro quo cases between 2012 and 2013. It was also Sharmila, who had taken forward the ‘Odarpu Yatra’ launched by Jagan to console the families of those who died out of shock over the tragic death of YSR in September 2009.

Though visibly upset with the way her services to the YSRCP were ignored, Sharmila’s sole purpose now is to focus on Telangana. While her father’s supporters from the Congress in Telangana rally around her, her husband Anil Kumar, an evangelist, helps her from behind the scenes.

In an informal chat with The Federal, Sharmila shares her dissatisfaction with the current KCR government in Telangana, her ties with her brother Jagan Mohan Reddy and vision of a new Telangana. Excerpts:

Do you have differences with your brother?

There would be issues in every family. But, media and people may not discuss such private matters.

Why were you kept away from politics for seven long years, after having played a key role in keeping the YSRCP vibrant during the crisis period (June 2012 to September 2013) and even later? 

Insecurity is common in politics.

Why do you want to confine your political party to Telangana, and not extend it to Andhra Pradesh? 

There is political vacuum in Telangana, after KCR (chief minister) killed the Congress party. The result of killing a secular party like Congress is coming back to him now. The BJP is growing. This is a self-invited trouble for KCR.

Related news: Poll code violation cases in Telangana a farce as politicians walk free

In seven years (Telangana was formed on June 2, 2014), Telangana became a malnourished baby in the hands of KCR. The state has the potential to grow stronger but, it was subjected to sheer neglect.

People, particularly the youth, are disillusioned because of unemployment and no development. Except for providing social security pensions to 38 lakh people, the TRS government has not done any development. There is corruption in Kaleswaram irrigation project and Mission Bhageeratha water supply programme.

Students from the Osmania University (once the hotbed of a separate Telangana movement) are in sheer disappointment and are extending us great support with the hope that we would change the situation.

People, especially the youth, are looking for a political alternative. The TRS government simply ignored the COVID-19 pandemic, just to show that the cases are less here. But, that amounts to playing with lives.

In Andhra Pradesh, the situation is different. The opposition is questioning the government. When the opposition is watchful, the ruling party delivers better and stands careful.

Of course, development is not taking place in Andhra Pradesh too. But, I wish it will happen. He (YS Jagan) is doing a better job than Chandrababu Naidu.  People are getting a better deal.

Critics say you are daughter of Andhra, but trying to rule Telangana

In fact, I am the daughter of Telangana. I was born in Andhra, which was not my choice. But, I grew up here, studied here from school to post-graduation and my children were born here. Who was Jayalalithaa? She was born in Mangalore, but she became the chief minister and leader of Tamil Nadu.

Many people have criticised your ‘Rajanna Rajyam’ (the YS Rajasekhara Reddy mark governance) slogan. They say that YSR had worked against the grant of statehood to Telangana… 

In fact, Rajasekhara Reddy garu loved Telangana and Andhra regions equally. What he said was united, the state (with 294 assembly and 42 Lok Sabha seats) would be strong in the south and could achieve a lot of progress.

Anyway, my Rajanna Rajyam slogan was misunderstood. To be clearer, we elaborated it as ‘Rajanna Sankshema Paalan’ (Rajasekhara Reddy mark welfare rule).

At the national level, which party would you want to align with?

We are secular. Our political affairs committee will take a view on it (alliance). We are not looking at national politics now.

Related news: Telangana puts up brave face amid surge in COVID cases, opens lower classes

There are talks that your party has the backing of the BJP… 

Not at all. I am equally critical of the political parties that took the state and the country backwards in development. Ours is an independent political party, trying to emerge as the hope for the poor.

What kind of relation will your party have with your brother’s YSR Congress Party?

We always look for friendly relations. I was surprised, when they (YSRCP) tried to distance themselves from my political launch, by declaring that they have no connection (with her political launch). I believe people and I look for friendly terms.

What is your mother’s (YS Vijayamma, who also played important role in sustaining the YSR Congress activities during Jagan’s judicial remand period at Chenchalguda Jail. She is also the honourary president of YSRCP) stand on your political entry?

She is fine with my political launch. She offered to play a role, whenever and wherever required.

Were you a member of the YSRCP? Have you resigned before starting the political party of your own?

I was never a member. I was only its star campaigner (laughs).

Read More
Next Story