Hyderabad: With all political parties in Telangana revving up their high-octane activity, padayatra (foot march) has become the season's flavour in Telangana.
BJP's Telangana state unit president and Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar completed 36 days of padayatra in the first phase on Saturday (2 October 2021) at an impressive rally at Husnabad in Siddipet district. He is said to be considering launching the second round of padayatra either from erstwhile Warangal or Nalgonda districts sometime in November.
Sanjay, who launched his "praja sangrama" padayatra on 28 August 2021 from Bhagyalakshmi temple at Charminar in the Old City of Hyderabad, has covered 436 km across 19 Assembly segments and seven Lok Sabha constituencies and addressed 35 public meetings. The stated objective of the padayatra is to "liberate" Telangana from the "dictatorial and corrupt family rule".
For a person of his stature and considering the popularity of the BJP, Sanjay has indeed pulled it off well. More than popular support, the organizational skills of the BJP have become more evident during this padayatra that has enjoyed the blessings from the top echelons of the BJP.
Revanth Reddy considering padayatra?
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Revanth Reddy is also said to be planning a padayatra with a view to strengthening his party and garnering public support to enthrone the Congress in the state by stealing the thunder from the TRS. However, internal dissensions within the Congress have thrown the first challenge to him as soon as he took over the reins of the state unit.
Although Revanth Reddy has announced that he is toying with the idea of undertaking a padayatra, he cleverly left the "decision" to the high command, what with the experience of the late YSR. It may be recalled that YS Rajasekhara Reddy did not get the endorsement of the Congress high command when he had launched the most popular 'Praja Prasthanam' padayatra in April 2003 from Chevella in Ranga Reddy district.
The Congress leadership was almost against the idea of YSR projecting himself as the cynosure of all eyes and this naturally irritated him. He had, however, gone ahead with the padayatra and its resounding success got the high command to fall in line. And the rest is history.
Revanth Reddy, who lived through a major part of his political career in the Telugu Desam Party and rubbed shoulders closely with N. Chandrababu Naidu, successfully undertook his "Vasthunna Mee Kosam" padayatra for more than a year (I am coming for you) across Rayalaseema, Telangana, and coastal Andhra that ensured the TDP's victory in the 2014 elections in AP. He has evolved into a rabble-rouser and makes the "right noises" to kindle the political spark among those who subscribe to his politics. Reddy's public meetings ever since he assumed charge as the TPCC president also drew impressive crowds.
Bolstered by the success of his public shows, Reddy is said to be working on securing a nod from the party high command for the padayatra. He is said to have kept everything already planned to the tee.
YS Sharmila's padayatra from 20 October
Political strategist Prashanth Kishor is touted to be already working for the YSR Telangana Party of YS Sharmila, daughter of the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who will be launching her padayatra this month on 20 October. She is following the 'Ctrl C + Ctrl V' of her late father's padayatra by naming it 'Praja Prasthanam' and launching it from Chevella. She will cover all the Assembly constituencies, except those forming part of the state capital.
The younger sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy believes that her father's sympathizers and people of downtrodden sections of the society would rally behind her in her bid to take on the mighty KCR.
YS Jagan's "Praja Sankalpa Yatra" covering over 3,600 km in 14 months gave him a resounding victory in the Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh in 2019. She may have been drawing inspiration from the same.
KCR's hat-trick plans
To keep all these at bay and take advantage from the brownie points earned by its governance, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government is pulling out the proverbial rabbits from its magic hat with a slew of massive welfare schemes, coupled with development programs. The KCR government has launched several welfare schemes in the last seven years and earned laurels from the people.
The latest scheme, Dalit Bandhu, launched recently has been making waves among people and several sections of society have started demanding similar schemes for their economic empowerment.
The party's working president and municipal administration and IT Minister, K.T Rama Rao (KTR), has been relentlessly highlighting the various development schemes and initiatives that were conceived and translated into action during the TRS regime. The growth in the state's economy, manifold rise in industrialization and employment creation, pro-farmer policies and drinking water scheme, "Mission Bhageeratha", and the long list of programs are listed out as achievements.
Making the poll pitch with electors for several months now, thanks to the by-polls, civic polls, and elections to local bodies, the TRS leadership is ensuring that the party's mass contact is intact.
Irrespective of the poll outcomes, the TRS is making every possible attempt to impress upon the voting populace that actions speak more than words and criticism by its detractors is nothing but making the proverbial mountains out of molehills.