Differences within? Jagan’s sister Sharmila set to float a separate party - The Daily Guardian
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Differences within? Jagan’s sister Sharmila set to float a separate party

Lokeswara Rao

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Former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s daughter and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s sister Y.S. Sharmila has begun consultations with loyalists of her late father here amid reports that she is planning to float a new party in Telangana. Lotus Pond, YSR family’s residence in posh Jubilee Hills, was abuzz with activity as a large number of her supporters descended there from various parts of Telangana.

A festive mood prevailed at Lotus Pond amid the beating of drums and bursting of crackers. A huge picture of Sharmila with her father and hailing her leadership was installed at the residence. Sharmila, who arrived with her husband Anil Kumar from Bengaluru on Monday night, was holding the meeting with YSR loyalists from the united Nalgonda district, which has now been split into three districts. This will be the first in a series of meetings likely to be held by Sharmila with YSR loyalists from Telangana over the next few days. She will be eliciting their views before deciding her next course of action.

There has been speculation for the last few days that Sharmila will float a new party in Telangana; she almost confirmed it. “I am determined to bring back the golden rule of my father (Rajanna Rajyam) in Telangana. Father always strived for bringing back smile on the faces of the farmers. They used to live like kings, the poor had pucca houses, Arogyasri health scheme benefitted many, and students got best education,” she said. Her supporters recall the active role she played in mobilising people’s support through her yatra across undivided Andhra Pradesh when Jagan Mohan Reddy was in jail in the disproportionate assets case in 2012.

As the YSRCP wrested power in Andhra Pradesh from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 2019, YSRCP is believed to be working to revive its activity in Telangana. In 2014 elections, the YSRCP had bagged three Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat in Telangana. However, all of them later joined Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). Since then the party was almost inactive in Telangana, which was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in June, 2014. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash in 2009, enjoyed huge support in Telangana. The YSRCP leaders believe that many people in the state still revere the later leader for several revolutionary welfare schemes implemented by him.

Sharmila, who had actively campaigned for the YSR Congress Party in 2014 and 2019 polls in Andhra Pradesh, is also said to enjoy good support among the party cadre in Telangana.

On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh CM Jaganmohan Reddy’s political advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy has said that Y.S. Sharmila appears to have decided to start her political party in Telangana. She has not consulted Jagan on this matter. But it has been the strong opinion of Jagan Reddy that the YSR family should not start a political party in Telangana. The AP CM is of the feeling that any such political party in Telangana would severely affect the overall prospects of the state.

Sajjala has admitted that there have been differences of opinion on some political issues between the brother and the sister. But there were no conflicts of any kind. The brother-sister relations will continue. The demand for YSR family political party in Telangana has been there since the separation of the united Andhra Pradesh. But Jagan’s strong opinion is that the two Telugu states should cooperate with each other.

Sajjala said that he had advised Sharmila not to start her party in Telangana. But she is bent on running a party for continuing the YSR ideology there. Sajjala said that on the part of the YSRCP, they have no plans to enter Telangana in future. A discussion on this has been held several times in the past, but that will not happen.

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