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Lack of jobs, sparse development haunt Jagan in AP

Price rise also a big issue; but he scores high when it comes to welfare schemes and village secretariats

Lack of jobs, sparse development haunt Jagan in AP

Pulivendula: In May 2019, Yeduguri Sandinti Jagan Mohan Reddy created history after Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), the political party that he founded in 2011, went on to win 151 seats in the 175-member Legislative Assembly in Andhra Pradesh at a phenomenal strike rate of 86 per cent. That was a monumental first victory for a political party. Moreover, the young political party effectively put paid to the aspirations of incumbent Telugu Desam Party (TDP), led by seasoned politician Nara Chandrababu Naidu, who, as a Chief Minister, steered the fortunes of the undivided Andhra Pradesh as well as the truncated Andhra Pradesh for nearly 14 years.

The credit for YSRCP’s historic 2019 victory obviously goes to YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, its young founder and son of late Y.S. Rajasekara Reddy, former Chief Minister of the undivided Andhra Pradesh. All said and done, it’s not easy to establish a political party and bring it to power within a short span.

Nearly five years have passed since that victory and Jagan has ruled the State as its Chief Minister for that many years. Now, Andhra Pradesh is at the threshold of elections yet again this summer. The question on everyone’s mind these days is which way will the majority of voters go this time? Will they give a second consecutive term to Jagan? Or will they bring Naidu back to power?

Frankly speaking, the ruling styles of Jagan and Naidu as Chief Ministers make for a study in contrasts. While Naidu excessively focused on development during his tenure as the CM between 2014 and 2019, Jagan changed the track completely and gave prime importance to welfare. “People are getting pensions on time now. There is no corruption as all works are being handled at the village secretariat level, which is an excellent system. Earlier, we had to make several rounds to government offices even for small problems. That’s not so now. Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched several welfare programmes, which are benefitting innumerable poor families. Many people in our area are happy with the welfare schemes,” Yadaiah, hailing from a village near Kurnool, told Bizz Buzz.

However, there are also some people who oppose large-scale welfare schemes. “It is okay if the government spends on the education and healthcare needs of people. That will help the State in the long run. Old age pensions are also good. But there is no point in the government borrowing funds at high interest rates and spending them on non-productive welfare schemes”, observed Laxma Reddy from Proddatur in Kadapa district.

My travels across parts of Rayalaseema as well as interactions with people from other areas of Andhra Pradesh also revealed that the Jagan government scored high on the welfare front despite discontent among a section of people. He also enjoys good support of women.

But many complained about lack of jobs and development in Andhra Pradesh. They lamented that youth had no option, but to go to Hyderabad or Bengaluru to make their careers.

“We expected a lot from Jagan as he occupied the top post at a young age. But there are no jobs in our State now as no new factories have come up,” said Sudhakar Goud, a shop owner from Nandikotkur Assembly constituency in Nandyal district.

It’s not easy for many people to leave their families behind and go to other States for jobs, he pointed out.

Price rise has also become a big issue in the State. “The Jagan government is giving free money to people under various schemes. But prices have more than doubled and the cost of living has gone up phenomenally. What is the use of freebies when prices are so high? The government should control prices first. Lack of government jobs is also a major disappointment for many,” said Kiran, also from Nandikotkur.

Going by the widespread public perceptions, it is not going to be a cakewalk for YS Jagan this time like it was in 2019. He will have to sweat it out to stay in contention. His electoral fortunes in the upcoming elections will hinge on how he will deal with the issues of unemployment and lack of development.

P Madhusudhan Reddy
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