Members of the divided YSR family hit campaign trail in Kadapa


by IANS | Tue, Apr 30, 2024, 04:15 PM

Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh), April 30 (IANS) The YSR family, which has seen a vertical split along political lines, has hit the campaign trail in the family stronghold of Kadapa.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s wife YS Bharati and his sister YS Sharmila Reddy’s husband Anil Kumar joined the campaign for their spouses.

While entrepreneur Bharati is reaching out to voters in Pulivendula Assembly constituency, where YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is seeking re-election for a third-consecutive term, Anil Kumar is canvassing in Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency in support of his wife and state Congress President Sharmila Reddy.

Sharmila Reddy is taking on her cousin and sitting MP from Kadapa, YS Avinash Reddy of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

Unlike in the past, when the entire YSR family used to stand united, the family is split right down the middle now.

Sharmila Reddy’s campaign is being backed by her cousin YS Suneetha Reddy, daughter of former minister YS Vivekananda Reddy, who was murdered just before the 2019 elections. The poll battle centres around allegations against Avinash Reddy over his alleged involvement in Vivekananda Reddy’s murder.

With the CBI naming Avinash as an accused in the case, Sharmila and Suneetha have vowed to stop him from entering Parliament again.

They are also training their guns on Jagan Mohan Reddy for fielding Avinash once again despite him being an accused in the case.

The home district of the YSR family is witnessing a no-holds-barred fight between the siblings.

Sharmila Reddy has been accusing her brother of shielding a murder accused and promoting politics of murder.

On the other hand, Jagan Mohan Reddy has accused the Opposition of involving his two sisters in orchestrating conspiracies against him.

At a rally in Pulivendula, Jagan accused them of playing into the hands of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Certain remarks by Jagan on Sharmila wearing a yellow saree (the colour of the TDP’s flag) while meeting Naidu triggered a storm as she questioned if he should have commented on sister’s attire in front of thousands of people.

One key figure missing from this acrimonious fight between the siblings is their mother YS Vijayamma. She along with Sharmila was active in backing Jagan when he was in jail in a Disproportionate Assets case.

Vijayamma as the honorary president of YSRCP had also campaigned actively for the party in 2014 and 2019 elections. She resigned from the post in 2022 to stand with her daughter.

The cracks appeared in the YSR family in 2020 after the CBI took up investigation into the murder of Vivekananda Reddy, following direction of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on a petition by Suneetha Reddy, who raised suspicions about the role of some relatives.

Fighting for justice for the last five years, Suneetha is now publicly posing some embarrassing questions to Jagan. She wants to know why he withdrew the petition for a CBI enquiry after becoming the Chief Minister.

The CBI claimed that there was a conspiracy to kill Vivekananda Reddy as he was not in favour of YSRCP fielding Avinash Reddy as the candidate from Kadapa Lok Sabha seat. Vivekananda Reddy reportedly wanted Jagan Mohan Reddy to field Sharmila or mother Vijayamma as the party candidate.

Avinash Reddy, who was elected from Kadapa in 2014 and 2019, denied his involvement in his uncle’s murder.

Jagan has given a clean chit to Avinash Reddy. “He has done nothing wrong and that’s why I have given him a ticket once again,” the Chief Minister told a public meeting in Pulivendula.

The YSRCP chief also remarked that God and people of Pulivendula know who orchestrated the murder.

“People are witnessing who sent my two sisters to discredit us and who is backing them. What's even more surprising is that the murderer unabashedly confesses to the crime and openly discusses it with the public, with supporters rallying behind him. You all bear witness to this,” he said.

Though he did not name anybody, it is believed that he is pointing fingers at the TDP, which was ruling the state when Vivekananda Reddy was murdered.

With Jagan locked in a tight fight against the TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance and campaigning across the state, his wife chipped in to campaign for him in Pulivendula.

Bharati said that people were happy with the benefits of various schemes launched by the Jagan Reddy Government.

“They say schools are good, they are getting pensions and quality healthcare services. Wherever I am going people are saying only one thing. Jagan sir should win again,” she said and exuded confidence that her husband would retain the Pulivendula seat with a huge majority.

Bharati is also confident that the YSRCP will form the government once again.

Meanwhile, as Sharmila Reddy is busy campaigning for Congress candidates in other parts of the state, her husband Anil Kumar has reached Kadapa to help her.

Anil Kumar is an evangelist and he held meetings with pastors and some other Christian leaders in a bid to mobilise support of the minorities.

Political analysts say Anil Kumar, who has a good bond with several Dalit Christian groups, may make a dent in YSRCP’s vote bank. Anil Kumar told a gathering that those who do wrong have to undergo punishment.

Anil Kumar admitted that he is sad over what has been happening in the family for the last few years but vowed to continue his support for a just cause.

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