A two-time Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was the most popular leader of his state. With this biography, know more about his life and childhood.
Y S Rajasekhara Reddy
Born On: July 8, 1949
Born In: Pulivendula, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died On: September 2, 2009
Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly referred to as Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, was one of the most popular politicians in the history of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's term as Chief Minister were marked with some of the most notable welfare schemes in the state, a fact which played an important role in making him a very popular face among the common man. His popularity was the reason why Reddy never lost any election from the time he started contesting till the end of his career due to his death. A helicopter accident took away the life of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy prematurely..
Childhood & Early Life
Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was born on July 8, 1949 in the small town of Pulivendula in Andhra Pradesh. His parents were devoted Christians and young Reddy too strongly believed in Christianity. He also visited several religious places of Christian worship including Bethlehem. But Y S R, as he popularly came to be known during the later stages of life, also had a strong belief in Hindu god Lord Venkateswara. In fact, Y S R paid regular visits to the temple of Lord Venkateswara in Tirupati. Reddy practiced medicine, before he entered the world of politics, at a hospital that was built by his own father in their native town in Andhra Pradesh. The hospital in Pulivendula operates till today. After Y S Rajasekhara Reddy entered the world of Andhra Pradesh politics, his younger brother Y S Vivekananda Reddy followed in his footsteps and is now in the Congress. Reddy married Vijaya Lakshmi and the couple were blessed with a son and a daughter. His son Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is also a politician.
Y S Rajasekhara Reddy holds the record for winning every election that he contested in a career in politics spanning 30 years. He won Lok Sabha seats from the Kadapa constituency for four terms and also the Andhra Pradesh Assembly seats from Pulivendula for five terms. Y S Rajasekhara Reddy worked hard to achieve the success that he got in politics. In the year 2003, he traveled on foot for three consecutive months, spreading the propaganda of his party and trying to generate the votes of the people in his favor. His journey braving the summer sun of Andhra Pradesh for a distance of 1475 kilometers paid off when Y S Rajasekhara Reddy won the elections held next year to become the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for the first time in 2004. Prior to his appointment as the head of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Reddy held the following positions in the Andhra Pradesh state government:
- Minister of State for Rural Development (1980 - 1982)
- Excise Minister (1982)
- Education Minister (1982 - 1983)
- Leader of Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh State Assembly (1999 - 2004)
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Reddy occupied the office of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for two terms, from May 14, 2004 to 2009 and for the consecutive term from May 20, 2009 up to his death on September 2, 2009. Reddy had been sworn in as Andhra Pradesh CM for the second time for the term May 2009 to 2014. Both periods of his term at the office were marked by good and bad incidents, praises and controversies.
- Immediately after Y S Rajasekhara Reddy took the oath to office on May 14, 2004 for the first time as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, he delivered free electric supply to the homes of farmers, as promised during the time of elections.
- He provided the Rajiv Arogya Shree, a health insurance scheme to all persons below poverty line in the state. Using the Rajiv Arogya Shree would exempt them of surgery charges up to Rs 200,000.
- Emergency medical services, like free ambulance service was introduced for all within the state.
- A program called the Pavala Vaddi was started through which people could take loans from financial institutions in rates as low as 3%. The concept helped to establish several small scale businesses throughout the state, thus ensuring a source of income for many.
- A program called Indiramma Illu was introduced. Through this, the AP government bore a large part of the monetary burden of construction of a home by the rural population.
- Y S Rajasekhara Reddy made sure that all the backward students were reimbursed their fees from college and reservations were made for the minorities.
- He introduced a scheme following which rice could be bought for as nominal a price as Rs 2 per kg.
- The Andhra Pradesh government took the most important and quick steps to realize the NREGA or compulsory employment to all program introduced by the national government in India.
- Naxalite movements in Andhra Pradesh had reduced significantly during Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s term in office because the rural people in the state were no longer ready to join hands with the Naxalites out of love for Y S R.
- Y S R introduced the Jala Yagnam scheme through which irrigation projects were constructed that provided water to 100,00,000 acres of land spread throughout Andhra Pradesh and helped to convert wasteland into cultivable land.
- On the negative side, Y S R and his son Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered the killings of several people from the opposition political party. Close to 400 were reported dead.
- Allegations, most of them true, said that Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had huge amounts of corrupt money to his name, money that he used to support industries like Bharathi Cements, Jagathi Publications and Sakshi Paper.
- Y S Rajasekhara surrendered several acres of land to the government in December 2006. This move was considered very controversial, with opposition leaders, Chandrababu Naidu the most vociferous among them, demanding Y S R’s resignation from office.
- Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s first term in office of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh was highly successful, making it easier for him to contest the upcoming elections. However, unlike all other opposition parties, Y S R did not promise any new welfare programs for his second term in the CM’s office. Rather, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy made it clear that he would pursue with the policies that he had introduced in his earlier term. In spite of all other political parties forming a unified opposition in Andhra Pradesh during the 2009 CM elections, Y S R won with a majority.
- Y S Rajasekhara Reddy became the Chief Minister for a consecutive term, the only person to have achieved the feat after serving a full five year term.
The great political leader Y S Rajasekhara Reddy died a very tragic death on September 2, 2009. His private helicopter Bell 430 could not be traced when he entered the Nallamala forest area of Andhra Pradesh. The helicopter and the dead bodies were found the next day morning. A statement released by P Ramakanth Reddy, the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, confirmed that bad weather or Naxal attacks could not have been the causes of the helicopter crash, although both these factors are at play in the Nallamala forests. It was the Prime Minister's office in New Delhi that confirmed the news of the helicopter crash and the subsequent death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy on the morning of September 3. Five people including Y S R were charred to death beyond recognition after the helicopter crash. Only the clothing could confirm that the dead bodies were those of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, his chief security officer A S C Wesley, the captain M S Reddy, the group captain S K Bhatia and the chief minister's special secretary P Subrahmanyam. Though there are still doubts on the reason of the sudden crash, an investigative report released after September 3, 2009 said that a problem in the transmission oil pressure system of the helicopter coupled with the bad weather in the forest area led to the tragic crash.
The report claims that the pilots of Bell 430 were so preoccupied with discussing the methods to get the oil pressure system back to its normal working condition that they failed to notice the gradually worsening weather and the need to return immediately to the base. Y S Rajasekhara Reddy being a devout Christian, his body was buried following the Christian rites at Idupulapai in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. All eminent politicians from the state and family members were present at the funeral which took place on the morning of September 4, 2009 to pay their last respects to the great politician from Andhra Pradesh. The news of the sudden death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was shocking to say the least. He was loved by all in the state, especially the rural people of Andhra Pradesh, several of whom lost their lives, either due to a cardiac arrest or by committing suicide after Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was declared dead. Such was the popularity of the politician who fought all through his career for the welfare of his people!
1949: Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is born on July 8.
1980: Became the minister of state for rural development.
1982: Became the excise minister of Andhra Pradesh.
1982: Took oath as the education minister.
1999: Became the chief leader of opposition in the Andhra Pradesh state assembly elections.
2003: Walked on foot for three months as part of his election campaign for the 2004 elections to the post of Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
2004: Elected Chief Minister of AP for the first time on May 14.
2004: Provided free electricity to rural areas of AP.
2006: Y S R was asked to submit resignation by opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu.
2009: Elected Chief Minister for the second time on May 20.
2009: Died in a helicopter crash on September 2.
2009: Y S R's funeral service is arranged on September 4.