Jaganmohan completes one year as Andhra Pradesh CM

Attempts to erase predecessor's imprint and confrontation with judiciary mark Jagan's first year at AP's helm

YS Jaganmohan Reddy took oath as the second CM of Andhra Pradesh version 2.0 on 30 May 2019, with a resounding electoral victory

From his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s untimely death in a chopper crash in September 2009, it took almost a decade for Yeduguri Sandinti Jaganmohan Reddy to be seated in the chief minister chair in Andhra Pradesh.

The journey was testing for the now 47-year-old. His ambitions cold-shouldered by the Congress party, Jagan, as he is popular, formed the YSR Congress Party in 2011. In the 2014 elections, he missed power narrowly when he took on the TDP-BJP combine supported by Pawan Kalyan’s Jana-Sena.

In a resolute rebid, Jagan went on a 3648 KMs padayatra covering nooks and crannies of the state, breaking all such on-foot electoral feat records. In the 2019 polls, he was rewarded with an astounding 151 MLAs in a state assembly of 175 members. YSRCP also took 22 out of AP’s 25 Lok Sabha seats.

Wiping the predecessor’s stamp …

Since achieving his desire and taking oath on 30 May 2019, Reddy has been obsessively, some analysts say vindictively, engaged in undoing the five-year administration of his predecessor – Chandrababu Naidu.

What began with the demolition of Rs nine crore convention centre, Praja-vedika built by Chandrababu Naidu culminated in the dismantling of the ex-CM’s dream capital Amaravati estimated to be built at a cost of over Rs one lakh crore.

Though a legislative hurdle and COVID-19 pandemic has put brakes on the shifting of the executive capital to Visakhapatnam and the judiciary to Kurnool, YSRCP leaders state the much controversial three capitals structure as imminent.  

In the last one year, Jagan also reversed Naidu’s several major infrastructure plans. In what he called “reverse tendering,” Jagan replaced the firm chosen by the Naidu government to execute the Polavaram multipurpose national project on river Godavari. In the process, Jagan claimed to have saved over Rs 800 crore. His decision to review the power purchase agreements made with the private renewable energy firms even rattled the central government. On the ground level, Jagan downed the shutters of “Anna Canteens”, the food kiosks opened by Naidu providing meals to the poor at Rs five.

Thus, Jagan did almost everything to erase Naidu’s imprint from Andhra Pradesh version 2.0.

Reduced to 23 MLAs (three of them switched loyalties) in the assembly, Naidu now appears hapless. However, in the party’s general convention Mahanadu held this week, Naidu accused Jagan of wrecking the state administratively, economically, while scaring away investors. He also faulted Jagan as mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic.

Confrontations with judiciary

Jagan’s one-year rule is also marked by disagreements with the judiciary - the Andhra Pradesh high court. A series of HC’s observations, directions and judgments like on the capital shift moves, English medium education in government schools, CBI probe into his uncle YS Vivekananda’s death, YSRCP party colors on government offices went against Jagan’s intentions. This week, the High Court gave notices to over 90 YSRCP supporters, including a Lok Sabha MP, for allegedly making adverse comments about various orders. On Friday (May 29, the court also annulled the appointment of a new state election commissioner in place of Nimmagadda Suresh. After Nimmagadda postponed the local body polls in March because of COVID-19, Jagan accused him as partisan and removed him through an ordinance.

Populist Plan of Action to retain power in 2024

Despite the opposition onslaught and legal setbacks, Jagan is steadfast in catering to his core voter base, delivering a series of welfare schemes. Even as he talks about the state coffers as drying up, Jagan has launched several big-budget populist schemes like YSR Rythu Bharosa providing farm incentives, full reimbursement of education course fees for the poor students, 'Amma-vodi' providing Rs 15,000 per year to poor sections mothers sending kids to schools, hiked social welfare pensions, YSR health scheme and so on. The chief minister claimed Rs 40, 139 crore was spent in the last twelve months benefitting 3,57,51,612 people of the state. 

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