YSR completes five years, confident of another term

May 14th, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, May 14 (IANS) Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Thursday became the first Andhra Pradesh chief minister to complete five years in office and was confident of a second successive term with the stage set for the counting of votes polled for the assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress leader, popularly known as YSR, had taken oath as the state’s 14th chief minister at the Lal Bahadur Stadium here on May 14, 2004 after he led his party to a landslide victory, ending the over nine year rule of the Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) N. Chandrababu Naidu.

YSR, who returned to the state capital Thursday from a holiday, cut a cake to mark the completion of his five years in office.

“YSR is the first chief minister to complete a five years in office. No chief minister since the state’s formation in 1956 has completed a full term,” said Finance Minister K. Rosaiah.

Despite having been in the top post more than one time, three former chief ministers could not complete five years in office. They either opted for elections before the assembly completed its term or had to quit due to different reasons.

Naidu was the longest serving chief minister in the state’s history but he went in for early elections in 2004.

Unlike the previous tenures of the Congress party when it used to frequently change the chief ministers due to internal squabbles, the 60-year-old YSR had a smooth term as he faced no dissension.

YSR swept to power due to the massive anti-incumbency wave, the agrarian crisis, and suicides by hundreds of farmers.

He launched massive pro-people programmes like free electricity to farmers, waiver of farm loans, housing and land distribution for poor, monthly pensions for widows, old age people and handicapped, Rajiv Arogyasri or community health insurance scheme, rice at Rs.2 per kg and four percent reservations for backward classes among Muslims.

His government also took up an ambitious Jalayagnam programme to complete all pending irrigation projects at a whopping cost of Rs.1.5 trillion to provide water to an additional 10 million acres of land.

His government also launched first-ever direct talks with the Maoist guerrillas. However, after the failure of peace talks, he dealt with the Maoists with an iron hand, eliminating the top leadership of the rebel group.

However, the term saw the opposition making serious allegations of corruption against him, especially in awarding contracts for the irrigation projects and works for outer ring road around Hyderabad.

YSR also failed to keep his allies with him. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) all parted ways and joined hands with the main opposition TDP to fight last month’s elections under the banner of Mahakutami or the grand alliance.

But with no strong anti-incumbency, YSR is confident of retaining the power in the state despite the grand alliance and the emergence of the Praja Rajyam of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.

“Congress will win the election hands down. We will get at least 230 assembly seats,” YSR had said just before the polls.

In 2004, the Congress had bagged 185 seats on its own in the 294-member assembly. The Congress-led alliance had won 226 seats.

“This government has taken several historic pro-people measures during the last five years. Both the people of the state and the Congress high command are happy with YSR. We won the last election and we are going to win this election too,” said Rosaiah.

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