Known as a people's leader for his several initiatives for their welfare, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy was on his way to launch yet another mass contact programme when the helicopter carrying him went missing in the dense Nallamalla forests, before it was found nearly 24 hours later on Thursday.
It was only around 5 am on Wednesday that senior police officials in Chittoor district were informed by the chief minister that he would be visiting Anuppalle village to launch 'Racchabanda' programme.
A day after the budget session of state assembly concluded, YSR, as the chief minister is popularly known, chose a remote village in Anuppalle to launch the programme of surprise visits to villages to know people's problems.
"I want to know the problems in village through this surprise visit and want to have a direct interaction with the villagers. I told them (the officials) only at 5 am that I will be visiting the village as they have to make security arrangements," YSR said in his last interview before boarding the helicopter in Hyderabad at 8.35 am on Wednesday.
"If I tell the officials in advance about my visit they will rectify some problems and hence this programme is being launched. The basic aim is to see whether the delivery mechanisms of the government are working or not," he told Sakshi television channel, which is run by his son YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
"I want to know how the concerned departments are working to deal with drought, whether farmers are getting the required assistance, whether the village has drinking water supply. I also want to see if there is any poor person who has not got a ration card, house or pension. We have promised that every poor will get a house and ration card," he said.
"This is a representative sample as I can't visit all 20,000 villages in the state. I will go on such visits for three to four days in a month and will cover four to five villages in a day," YSR had said.
It was various such programmes taken up by him during last five years that helped him retain power in the recent elections despite facing a strong and united opposition alliance led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Praja Rajyam floated by actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.