Sunday marks the second anniversary of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s ascent to power as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Despite taking over a state tottering from financial resources crunch, he has been aggressively pursuing a path of providing social welfare.
Reddy rode to power in the 2019 Assembly polls, on the back of a populist agenda that reached out to the poorest and most backward sections of the society.
But even before he could take stock of the situation as the residuary state’s second Chief Minister, the Covid pandemic struck. Ever since, he has been busy fighting the pandemic on the one hand, and ensuring the delivery of his pet welfare schemes to the people on the other.
The ruling YSRCP’s victories in the local bodies elections and in the Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll have been credited to the welfare schemes under which the state government has directly credited Rs 95,528.50 crore in to the beneficiaries’ accounts, besides indirectly spending over Rs 36,197.05 crore on Sampoorna Poshana, free power to farmers, Goru Muddha and many more schemes, aggregating to Rs 1.31 lakh crore.
Ushering the concept of village and ward volunteers, he ensured that pensions and other welfare services are door delivered, on the first of every month.
The last two years have also seen him locking horns with the opposition TDP and farmers who gave their lands for the capital city of Amaravati. By proposing three capitals — legislative capital at Amaravati, executive capital at Visakhpatnam, and Kurnool as the location for the high court — Reddy literally set the cat among the pigeons.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Reddy has had to contend with the BJP, which regularly brings up his Christian background. Knowing that he has to stay in the good books of the Union government, Reddy has so far largely ignored them.
One of the bigger challenges he faced this year was the series of desecrations or thefts in several Hindu temples of the state — the most high-profile example being that of the unexplained fire which destroyed the temple chariot at the Antarvedi temple.
On the whole, Reddy has adroitly managed to hold his own against seasoned political adversaries like TDP leader and former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, maintaining cordial relations with the Central government led by the BJP, and handling the challenges thrown by the pandemic, even as he remains committed to social welfare schemes, minus the financial resources.