Interview| If three are ganging up against one, he must be strong: YS Bharathi Reddy on TDP-Janasena-BJP alliance

Though not a politician, Bharathi Reddy has donned the mantle to campaign for her husband

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  2 May 2024 3:24 AM GMT
Interview| If three are ganging up against one, he must be strong: YS Bharathi Reddy on TDP-Janasena-BJP alliance

Pulivendula: While Incumbent Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is touring the state and campaigning for YSRCP candidates, his spouse, Y S Bharathi Reddy is campaigning on his behalf in Pulivedula.

Bharathi Reddy is campaigning for her husband. She has taken up the onus of a door-to-door campaign spanning seven mandals, an exercise she takes up every election.

In conversation with Coreena Suares and Sri Lakshmi Muttevi, Y S Bharathi Reddy—though not a politician or an administrator—spoke at length about the Jagan government's achievements and how she acts as a bridge between the people of Pulivendula and the CM. Excerpts:

NewsMeter: What issues do you come across during campaigning in Pulivendula? Do you take them up with the Chief Minister?

Bharathi Reddy: I participate in the election campaign for 2-3 weeks once every five years. The rest of the time, I don't interact much with the public. Pulivendula is my native town as well. I come here once a month. Every time I come, I meet people and accept representations on behalf of their MLA.

Even now when I meet people during campaigning, I receive representations. But since there is a model code of conduct, I assure people of addressing their needs once elections are over. People raise issues like pensions, house sites, Arogyasri scheme benefits, aid for kids et al. They mostly request help for medical care.

NewsMeter: Given your experience as a well-established businesswoman, what should the Andhra Pradesh government do to bring in investments and increase productive employment in the state?

Bharathi Reddy: I recently read an article in a newspaper that the government of AP under the stewardship of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy created about 26,00,000 private jobs and about 6,00,000 government outsourced and contract jobs. So both put together, roughly 30.32 lakh jobs have been created over the last five years.

The government also supports the MSMES in a big way by giving them incentives. The previous regime did not give these incentives promptly. This government gives everything on time as per the assurances. With these incentives, the MSME will not face the threat of shutting down. And they will be able to create employment.

Secondly, AP being primarily an agrarian state and rich in aqua, focus is given to develop these sectors . The government has undertaken the development of four ports which will further amplify the employment rate. They are also working on fishing harbors to generate wealth and create jobs. We don’t have a city like Hyderabad or Bangalore, but within the given resources and infrastructure, the YSRCP government has been able to create jobs.

Looking at the tenure, the government had only three years (keeping two years of Covid in mind). I think a lot has been done. They're also establishing skill development institutes for specific industries. They are coming up with a skill development university in the next term.

NewsMeter: Among the various schemes, the focus is more on school-going children and pensioners. Are these specific groups the government’s prime focus?

Bharathi Reddy: Jagan’s government caters to the young, the elderly as well as the women. From a woman’s pregnancy to six years (when her child is about 6 years old), they are entitled to the Jagananna Sampoorna Poshana Plus. Good and nutritious food is given to the pregnant mother and the child for six years. After six years, they're all enrolled in school where they get midday meals. The midday meal menu has been planned by the Chief Minister himself. So every day they have a different menu.

A lot of focus has been laid on English medium education. The students have been given tabs from 8th grade onwards with the Biju's content. They have TOEFL training and in the degree courses, they have tied up with EDX for different courses. Where credit courses from universities like MIT, LSE, Harvard, etc are offered. So a lot is being done on education for children. And yes, the elderly who are not in a position to work, are given pensions so that they do not end up feeling like a burden or having to live at the mercy of their children. So giving them some kind of monthly pension helps them live their life in dignity.

NewsMeter: What are your thoughts on the manifesto of the YSRCP government? Welfare schemes have been continued. Enhancement has also been announced in some cases. Plus there are a few more new promises. What is your take?

Bharathi Reddy: In some areas, it's a continuation, in some areas it's an enhancement. Also about Amma Vodi and Rythu Bharosa, there's an enhancement of about Rs 2000, and the others like Cheyutha and EBC Nestham, etc all of those are a continuation.

NewsMeter: On one side, CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is fighting it alone, and on the other, there is a mega TDP-Janasena-BJP alliance. This time, it is going to be one of the toughest elections. How do you see this alliance against the CM?

Bharathi Reddy: So if three people are ganging up against one person, he must be strong. So the three must be thinking that we can't take him on. So they need to come together. That sums up the ground reality.

NewsMeter: You have closely watched two chief ministers, one your father-in-law late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, and your husband Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. What are the similarities and differences between the two?

Bharathi Reddy: So as far as Pulivendula is concerned, both my father-in-law and Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy are loved by the people. My father-in-law was first elected as MLA in 1978. So it’s almost 45 years now that one or the other of the family members is representing this place. Two to three generations of people, grandparents, children, and now their children are all associated with this family.

So it’s a strong relationship. Jagan has been campaigning here since he was 18. He has a close bond with people here. My father-in-law was a good leader and he had close bond with people. So in a way, I wouldn't say too many differences because it’s a continuity of commitment to serve the people.

NewsMeter: How do you plan your daily campaign?

Bharathi Reddy: There are seven mandals in Pulevindula assembly constituency. I take up door-to-door campaigning. The team plans the jurisdiction. We ensure to cover most of the houses under every mandal where I ask people to support the CM.

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