YSR is the man of the moment in Andhra Pradesh

PTI | ByMohammed Shafeeq (IANS), Hyderabad
May 11, 2004 04:38 PM IST

Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, the doctor-turned-politician, is the front-runner for the chief minister's post in Andhra Pradesh.

With the Congress party returning to power in Andhra Pradesh, all eyes are now on Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known by his initials YSR.

HT Image
HT Image

The doctor-turned-politician, who revived the moribund party, is the front-runner for the chief minister's post.

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Hailed as 'Cuddapah tiger', after the district to which he belongs, by his fans and known as an aggressive man, YSR may not face hurdles in his desire to become the chief minister of one of India's largest states.

Since the party is heading for a two-third majority on its own, it will not have to depend on its ally Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is opposed to YSR as he hails from Rayalseema region.

A fighter to the core, YSR lifted the sagging morale of the Congress, which was down and out following two successive defeats in the 1994 and 1999 elections.

As president of the state unit of the party in 1999, he could only improve the party's tally from 25 to 91 in the 294-member assembly.

By leading state-wide campaign yatras, YSR mobilised people's support in these marches for the party in the face of a hi-tech campaign and media blitzkrieg by N Chandrababu Naidu, his one time friend in Congress.

All odds were against YSR as the support generated by his 1,600 km walkathon through the state in April last year appeared to have eclipsed with the Maoists' attack on Naidu on Oct 1 last year.

The TDP went for early election in an attempt to cash in on a perceived sympathy wave.

YSR refused to give up and launched another yatra lifting the party's sagging morale.

Born on July 8, 1949 at Jammalamadugu village in Cuddapah district, YSR did his medical education from MR Medical College at Gulbarga in Karnataka.

Married to Vijayalakshmi in 1972, he began his political career as secretary of the district Youth Congress in 1975.

He was first elected to the state assembly from Pulivendula constituency in 1978 and re-elected in 1983,1985, 1999 and now in 2004.

Considered close to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, YSR became the youngest president of the party in 1985 when film star-turned politician NTR's charisma was ruling the state.

In 1989, YSR was elected to the Lok Sabha from Cuddapah and continued his winning streak until 1998. In 1999 he was asked to again head the party in the state.

Though a Christian, religion has never been a hurdle for him and he enjoys the backing of Reddys, a politically significant caste. Always clad in dhoti in Andhra style, YSR is an expert in rural economy.

It was now or never for YSR. He had declared that he would quit politics if the Congress failed to return to power in the state.

His close aides said he always had the ambition of becoming chief minister.

However, YSR played his cards carefully by never publicly acknowledging that he was in the race and this has only strengthened his case.

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