YSR Congress fails to build up organizational structure

Gali Nagaraja

Amaravati: The wounded lawmaker Kanumuri Raghuramakrishna Raju’s reply to a show-cause notice served by the Yuvajana Sramika Rytu Congress general secretary V. Vijayasai Reddy, asking why disciplinary action could not be initiated against him on his alleged anti-party activities, has sparked a debate on the organisational status of the Jagan’s party in Andhra Pradesh.

The crux of the issues raised by Raju is whether the party has any organisational structure built down the line through a democratic process or it is being run by whims and fancies of a few individuals. The rebel MP sought to know whether there is any disciplinary committee, comprising a chairman and members, in existence within the party to initiate disciplinary action against the erring leaders by following the due process of holding meetings and maintaining the minutes.

As a matter of fact, the YSRC came into being as a one-man show revolving around Jaganmohan Reddy in 2011 after he parted ways with the Indian National Congress (INC). It was run by Reddy single handedly like any other regional party till he was arrested and jailed for 16 months on charges of acquiring assets disproportionate to his known sources of income during the UPA-II government. In his absence, his mother Vijayamma and sister Sharmila Reddy ran the party.

Cine mogul N.T. Rama Rao founded the Telugu Desam Party early in 1980s with an ideology centering around the self-pride of Telugu people. K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana Rastra Samithi was formed, focusing on sub-regional aspirations of his Telangana region within the united Andhra Pradesh then and Bal Thackeray’s Siva Sena came into being as a champion of Marathi resurgence. Although TDP initially emerged as a one-man show with NTR at the helm, his son-in-law has strenuously turned the party into an invincible war house with a strong organisational structure down the line. The TDP still runs with the decisions taken by its highest body of the politburo.

Team spirit found wanting

But the Jagan’s party was launched without such an emotional connect nor an organisational structure. After the sudden demise of his father Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh and he subsequently rubbed the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi the wrong way, Jagan Reddy launched his party with a promise to herald Rajanna Rajyam or a welfare state. But its strong urge to grow on the plank of anti-TDP even eclipses Reddy’s legacy politics quite often.

In the run-up to the elections, Reddy’s strategist Prashant Kishor advised him to give a basic form and character to his party with an organisational structure at all levels. Jaganmohan Reddy swept the state and Parliament elections and rode to power in 2019 without realising Kishor’s advice. He seemingly did so as he apparently believes that his electoral success lies more in his “Navaratnsas” aiming to uplift the poor and less in his party as a team.

Jagan, soon after coming to power, established village volunteer system with an army of 4 lakh volunteers who he hoped to help him repeat his electoral feat in the next elections.

Head without torso?  

“We have only the government headed by our leader Jaganmohan Reddy without the party being functional,” a party MLC told this writer. He further added, “It is conspicuous that Jagan Reddy in his capacity as its president failed to hold even a single meeting in the last one year of his tenure.

When Jagan has been completely immersed in the CM’s saddle, Vijayasai Reddy, considered the second-in-command, ran the party affairs till recently. In the wake of reports suggesting a gap between Jagan and Vijaysai, the CM’s advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy emerged in the picture, stepping into Vijayasai’s show. As the BJP national secretary Y. Satyakumar pointed out a few days ago, Sajjala, soon, began to call the shots within the government and in the party as well as an “extra-constitutional authority.”  Sajjala is not even an MLA. But one can see even ministers and officials in the higher echelons and people seeking favours from the CM keep lining up before him in his office in the state secretariat in Amaravati.  

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