Telangana, which came into being on 2 June 2014 as the 29th State of the Indian Union by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh, will have a new political party on 8 July, birth anniversary of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, a popular former Chief Minister of the composite State of AP and father of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister of AP. YS Sharmila, daughter of the late Rajasekhara Reddy and hitherto a religious propagandist, has been driven to take the political plunge and launch her YSR Telangana Party.
The Telugu Desam Party, which dominated the political firmament of composite AP since the 1980s, has ceded place to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, ruling party of Telangana since inception, and has been eclipsed in the state in just seven years.
Chandrababu Naidu, former Chief Minister, tried to promote himself as a national leader with no success and lost his hold on both Telangana and AP. The people of Telangana are grateful to the Congress for conceding their long-standing demand of separation, but the party has failed to take advantage and strengthen its Telangana unit. On the contrary, many Congress leaders have defected to the TRS. Waning of the Congress and the Telugu Desam influence has left a political vacuum in Telangana which Sharmila’s new party hopes to fill. Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao of the TRS has stamped out all opposition in Telangana and is preparing to pass on the baton to his son KT Rama Rao by way of dynastic succession.
Though the Rajasekhara Reddy family hails from Pulivendula in Kadapa district, now part of AP, Sharmila was born and brought up in Hyderabad and has every right to be called a Telanganite. While her father was the Chief Minister, he stoutly opposed bifurcation of AP.
Known for his welfare measures, he did more for the Telangana region, which was economically weaker, than the Andhra and the Rayalaseema regions. Sharmila had her initiation into politics in June 2012 when she campaigned for YSR Congress Party candidates in 18 by-elections to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat as her brother Jagan Mohan Reddy was in jail. She attracted huge crowds during her campaign tours.
In the 2019 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, she undertook a bus yatra campaigning for the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh which saw the overthrow of the TDP government.
Not wanting his sister to face the rough and tumble of politics, Jagan Mohan tried to dissuade Sharmila from entering the fray, but she is determined to go ahead with the launch of the YSR Telangana Party on 8 July. Her Lotus Pond residence in Hyderabad is already a beehive of political activities.
With state repression let loose by the TRS government’s order of March 30 banning 16 organisations under the Telangana Public Security Act and declaring them as “unlawful associations,” the work is cut out for Sharmila to play an effective role of opposition to the TRS oligarchy.