Andhra Pradesh is shocked and dazed to the core
The 60-year old Dr Reddy, popularly known as YSR and Prajala Manshi (man of the masses), died when the state government helicopter he was travelling in crashed on Wednesday atop a hillock in the Nallamalla forest in Kurnool district.
The agonising wait and suspense, which started with the Bell-430 helicopter going missing while flying from Hyderabad to Chittoor on Wednesday morning, ended when the Indian Air Force search teams spotted the helicopter wreckage with five bodies. Click on NEXT to read further...
Image: YSR with his family
YSR was dear to the masses
That apart from Congress party leaders and workers, the ordinary people were also weeping openly at the news is testimony to how YSR had endeared himself to the masses through hard work and a series of welfare programmes aimed at farmers and the poorer sections.
Image: YSR and his wife, with their grandchild
YSR made electoral history in 2009
A medical doctor by profession and a politician from his student days, Rajasekhara Reddy was earlier known as a perennial rebel as he remained a dissident against most Congress chief ministers since he was first elected to the state assembly in 1978.
But in 2004 he opened a new chapter in his political life when he led the Congress back to power after a decade by defeating the Telugu Desam Party led by N Chandrababu Naidu. Five years later -- in 2009 -- YSR made history when he single-handedly fought off the stiff challenge from an array of opponents and led the Congress to power for a second consecutive term.
Image: YSR in his college days
YSR sent 33 Congress MPS to the Lok Sabha
He was the only Congress chief minister to retain power for a second consecutive term, a feat earlier achieved only by TDP founder N T Rama Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu.
Image: YSR as an NCC cadet. He is a qualified medical doctor, but fate had other plans for him
YSR will be remembered for his popular measures
He also served twice as state Congress president and twice as the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.
Though his political opponents often described him as a "factionist" and "vindictive", YSR will be remembered by the common man for his popular initiatives like Rs 2 per kg rice for the poor, free electricity to the small farmers, and massive irrigation projects, scholarships for the students and pension for women.
Image: An archival photo of a young YSR with his wife
Death has robbed the state of a young leader
Jagan, who is in to power generation, cement and media, made his political debut recently when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa, traditionally a family stronghold which was represented by his father and uncle in the past.
Image: A file photo of the young Reddy family
Filling YSR's shoes won't be easy
Filling his shoes will not be an easy task.
Image: YSR playing with his grandchild