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3 women Jagan Reddy owes his success to

April 09, 2014 10:03 IST

3 women Jagan Reddy owes his success to

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

Vicky Nanjappa goes on the campaign trail with YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy in Srikakulam district.

In the final part of this series, Rediff.com looks at the three women -- Jagan's mother Vijayamma, sister Sharmila and wife Bharathi -- who have stood by him even when the chips were down.

Part I: Jagan invokes father's legacy, Congress betrayal to seek votes

Part II: People love me, will vote for me: Jaganmohan Reddy

YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, who is emerging as a favourite in the Seema-Andhra region of Andhra Pradesh, has three women to thank.  

As electioneering peaks, his mother Vijayamma, sister Sharmila and wife Bharathi have stood by him to ensure that no stone is left unturned for Jagan to emerge victorious.

Members of one of the most powerful families in South India, these three women with the exception of Vijayamma, were not seen so much when Jagan’s father and former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was alive.

When YSR passed away in a helicopter accident many thought Jagan would replace him as chief minister. When that did not work out, Jagan resigned from the party. His mother Vijayalakshmi too resigned from Andhra Pradesh Assembly. In his four-page resignation letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi he claimed there was politics against him from his own party. He soon launched the YSR Congress

It was then that the three women of the family began playing a bigger role in Jagan’s political career.

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Image: YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy addresses an election rally
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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Vijayamma was seen the most with Jagan in public. Although Jagan managed the party affairs by himself, Vijayamma had to take over when he went to jail in the disproportionate assets case, for over a year.

Many political analysts wrote Jagan off when he was imprisoned. They said, like many regional parties, the YSR Congress too was driven by one man alone. With the party leaderless, they felt the party would not last.

Jagan told his party that in his absence his mother would be in charge. But Vijayamma, who realised she would not be able to handle everything by herself, brought in her daughter Sharmila. They also asked Bharathi, Jagan’s wife, to join them in their campaign.

When the three women hit the political campaign trail, they drew huge crowds, more than what they anticipated. Many gathered around out of curiosity, but it managed to put the YSR Congress in the minds of the people even though its top leader was behind bars.

Today, Vijayamma, Sharmila and Bharathi continue to campaign for Jagan, with each one having a defined role.

Vijayamma’s campaign style evokes more sympathy. The voters even today refer to her as Rajanna’s (YSR) wife. Many ask her why she has come out to seek votes. ‘We will come to you’, the crowds tell her. She strikes a sympathetic chord and speaks about the loss of her husband and the trauma she underwent when her son was in jail. It all adds up as brownie points in an election campaign.

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Image: Y S Vijayamma, Jagan Mohan Reddy's mother, at an election campaign
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

The star of the show, however, is Sharmila. With several walkathons under her belt when her brother was in jail, she has gained a great deal of experience.

Though a star campaigner for her party, she has decided to stay away from contesting the elections.

Unlike her mother, Sharmila is more practical in her approach. She does not evoke the sympathy factor during her interactions. She is to the point and speaks about the legacy of her father and how a regime under (Telugu Desam Party chief) Chandrababu Naidu would do the state no good.

Naidu had walked 2,875 kilometres across the state and Sharmila decided to beat him by walking 3,112 km.

Sharmila also attacks (former chief minister) Kiran Kumar Reddy blaming him for the state bifurcation.

‘It was a sad thing to happen, but now that it has happened people must chose the YSR Congress as it is the only party that can provide development,’ she says.

After Jagan was released from jail, Sharmila took a break from politics but is back now on the campaign trail. She tells people that Rajanna’s daughter is back. Considered to be the face of the party after Jagan, many say she resembles her father in her mannerisms and style of speaking. 

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Image: YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy's sister YS Sharmila
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

Jagan's wife Bharathi, who preferred being a homemaker, was forced to enter the political battlefield due to the turn of events.

She did not actively campaign for the party but handled the business when Jagan was in jail.

Many in the YSR Congress party say that Jagan trusts these three women the most.


Image: YSR chief Jagan Mohan Reddy's wife Bharathi (R)


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