Sympathy wave for Jagan's mom as she hits the road
As expected it was a wave of sympathy which arrested Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy's mother Vijayamma managed to garner as she kick-started her election campaign for the June bypolls in Andhra Pradesh.
Vijayamma, who was in the shadow of her son all these days, hit the road to lead the YSR Congress party on Wednesday. She entered into campaign fray after the party persuaded her to do so in the event of her son being arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on various charges of financial crimes.
While crying foul over her son's arrest and also the death of her husband, former Andhra CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Vijayamma managed to attract massive crowds along the way where she is having a 5-km road show.
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Image: Video grab shows YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy's mother Vijayamma leaving for her campaign trail on Wednesday
'Thanks to the injustice, Vijayamma had to come out'
Vijayamma started off early on Thursday morning and flew to Vishakapatanam with her daughter Sharmila. From there she boarded a special bus. Her campaign began from Narasanapet and would continue till Payakaraopeta where the campaign would end for the day.
She commenced her campaign by garlanding a massive bronze statue of her late husband. Accompanied by her daughter she offered prayers before the statue before setting out on her campaign.
There were scores of curious onlookers waving at her all through her road show. People came out of their houses, flocked on the roads and also their balconies to watch one of the most anticipated campaigns in Andhra Pradesh.
The reaction on the roads was that of sympathy for Vijayamma. "Ideally it should have been Jagan who ought to have been campaigning, but thanks to injustice his poor mother and our amma has to come out in the hot sun to meet us," some said.
Image: Video grab shows supporters of the YSR Congress party at Vijayamma's road show
Vijayamma couldn't get off the bus due to huge crowd
However, there were others who were not all that sympathetic towards Jagan. "If he has done wrong then the law should take its course. However our sympathies are with his mother who has had to face so much, starting with the unfortunate death of her husband."
Vijayamma, however, appeared to be confident. One would have expected her to break down and seek more sympathy through her tears. But she was composed and clear in whatever she spoke to the people.
Earlier it was planned that she would get off the bus and have a one-on-one meeting with the people. However, she was advised against it as the crowd had become too big to control and had she done so, it would have become a nightmare for the police who were seen all along in very large numbers.
All through her road show, she stopped just once to make a speech in which she assured the people that the golden rule and era of her late husband would return to Andhra Pradesh.
Image: Video grab shows Vijayamma waving to crowds during the road show
'Congress playing nasty game on my entire family'
In her short yet powerful speech which drew in a huge crowd, she accused the Congress of playing a nasty game on her entire family.
"It is a political conspiracy played against my family by the Congress as they are unable to face us. The YSR Congress will implement all the schemes that my husband had proposed and planned. In addition to this we will also implement new schemes which will be people-friendly," she said.
"I have my doubts about the Congress. They were just not able to face us and our growing popularity and they planned it so well to target my son just before the elections. I suspect the Congress is behind all this, and today I even have doubts about the mysterious death of my husband. It is not just me, but even the people of Andhra Pradesh have a lurking doubt about my husband's death. We want to know how exactly he was killed," she asked.
"I make this sincere appeal to all the people to help us bring back the era of Dr YSR Reddy. Use the vote as a tool to oust the Congress and bring us to power. That is the only way will you be doing justice for me and my family," an emotional Vijayamma said.
"This is just not any by election. It is very important as it promises to bring out a new era in Andhra Pradesh."
Image: Video grab shows Vijayamma and her daughter Sharmila about to begin the road show
'Let the Cong do anything, but victory will be ours'
This is, however, not the first time that Vijayamma has addressed a public rally. During the Kadapa by-elections she has spoken as well. However, there has been a marked difference between the talk then and now. She appeared to be shy at that time and was comparatively meek. However this time around she appears to have come out of the shadow and sounded very confident as she spoke and also interacted with the people.
"Let the Congress do anything, but the final victory will be ours," she said.
Sharmila too had a few words to say. She stuck by her mother's side at all times. She too appeared confident and told the people that her family was facing this situation today as the Congress was unable to handle Jagan's popularity.
"My brother has gone behind bars as part of a larger conspiracy. He was ready to cooperate with the investigation; despite this they arrested him when the elections were round the corner."
Vijayamma will continue with the campaign on Thursday as well and she has promised her party that she would visit all the 18 constituencies which go in for the by elections in June.
A few political observers in Andhra Pradesh noted that the crowd Vijayamma managed to draw has been interesting, but it was on the expected lines.
People have been curious as it is a family drama which has been played out on the streets of Andhra Pradesh. The YSR Congress has benefited largely due to all the happenings in the past couple of days. They may even win these by polls, but it would be interesting to see if they are able to sustain this, once the cases against Jagan become stronger in the days to come, a commentator on Andhra politics said.
Image: Video grab shows huge crowds have gathered for Vijayamma's road show