India Politics
Troubles brew as YSR completes three years in office
May 13, 2007 - 4:30:10 PM

Hyderabad, May 13 - Troubles appear to be brewing for Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy who led the Congress party back to power in Andhra Pradesh three years ago.

He is completing three years in office Monday and the party is marking the occasion with a 'rededication day' and a plenary session to chalk out an Action Plan 2009 aimed at retaining power in the next elections.

However, the dissidence within the party, lack of clear direction and control over the administration, controversies and discontent among farmers may make things difficult for YSR in the run-up to the polls.

The dissidence within the party has come out in open after the chief minister ignored many aspirants in the first cabinet expansion undertaken last month.

While a few leaders like P. Janardhan Reddy, a bitter critic of YSR, have been criticising the government for long, they are now joined by several more. Senior legislator P. Shankar Rao, who was issued a show-cause notice for his outbursts, called YSR autocratic.

YSR, a pro-farmer leader who came to power with overwhelming support from agriculturists, succeeded in ending their miseries to some extent. The suicides by farmers came down as he implemented the promise of free electricity to them.

However, the failure to ensure uninterrupted supply for at least seven hours a day due to power shortage has angered the farmers as evident from the recent incidents in which they laid siege to electricity sub-stations. 'We are ready to pay if the government ensures uninterrupted and quality supply to save our crops,' said a farmer.

The most ambitious programme of YSR to complete all irrigation projects at a whopping cost of Rs.460 billion in five years has more or less remained on paper as problems like land acquisition, submergence, inter-state disputes, differences among regions within the state and the party continue to dog them.

Promising to usher in 'Indira Rajyam' or the rule inspired by former prime minister Indira Gandhi and change the face of rural Andhra Pradesh, YSR had launched several new schemes for providing housing and basic amenities in the countryside.

But even three years after their launch, the schemes failed to yield desired results. YSR's critics blame it on his poor administrative capabilities and selection of unsuitable officers.

YSR, who had launched a peace initiative with Maoists soon after the government formation, abandoned it after the failure of the first round of talks.

Political analysts say he has missed a chance for peace with the guerrillas. Though Maoist activities have been controlled effectively during last one and a half years, top police officials believe that Maoists may be down but certainly not out.

The demand for separate statehood to Telangana region is another issue on which YSR has failed to deliver. He failed to keep the Telangana Rashtra Samiti - as a coalition partner. As the next elections draw nearer, YSR may have to face an intensified Telangana movement and disgruntled party leaders from the region.

He also failed to keep peace with another ally the Communist Party of India-Marxist -, which has since join hands with the main opposition Telugu Desam Party - that appears to be regaining lost ground.

Many controversies have also dented the government's image not only in the state but also among investors.

German auto major Volkswagen dropped its plans to set up a car manufacturing plant in the state due to controversies. Though a corruption scandal involved some Volkswagen officials in India, the manner in which the state government conducted itself came under sharp criticism.

Though $3 billion Fab City project was announced amid much fanfare last year, certain allegations against SemIndia, the promoters of the project, raised a question mark on its future.

The government move to take back 800 acres of land allotted by the previous TDP government to IMG Bharatha, a subsidiary of Florida-based IMG, also sparked a row. Allegations of irregularities in the Outer Ring Road - project around Hyderabad and acquisition of land from the poor at throwaway prices to sell the same for billions of rupees to realty firms and multinational companies also dealt a blow.

YSR's own image took a beating when he admitted owning excess land in violation of various landholdings laws. The admission came in his move to surrender 900 acres of land in Kadpa district to the government.

His government took another controversial decision to allot 487 acres of land to a cement company in which his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is a director. Like several other orders, the government withdrew this decision in the wake of criticism from various quarters. The land was later auctioned, a process in which only Jaganmohan Reddy's company participated.

Five percent reservations to Muslims was another promise that the YSR government could not keep. Though it issued an order in this regard, lack of proper groundwork led to courts repeatedly striking it down.

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