Jangan Mohan Reddy : VAULTING AMBITION

Independent Media

VAULTING AMBITION is the hubris of the young Kadapa MP, Mr Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is resuming his much-hyped Odarpu yatra on Thursday in defiance of the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. The yatra is ostensibly meant to console families of those who died after the demise of his father and former Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, in a helicopter crash last year. But nobody believes that this is the real purpose.

Thursday is YSR’s birthday and the Odarpu (condolence) yatra will begin in Srikakulam district, where YSR’s famous padayatra of 2004 had concluded. It is all charged with the symbolism that Mr Jagan is the real ‘political heir’ of YSR. Unmindful of the nuances of Congress politics, Mr Jagan, who had joined the party little more than a year ago and who became an MP in last year’s elections, appears determined to challenge Mrs Gandhi. He has ignored the party high command diktat not to cross the ‘Laxman Rekha’.The 38-year-old MP seems to be angry that he was not allowed to occupy the Chief Minister’s chair which fell vacant with the death of YSR. He has not yet been able to reconcile himself to Mrs Gandhi’s selection of Mr K. Rosaiah, a senior politician, as his father’s successor. Mr Jagan was given the sane advice to bide his time and grow in the political sense before aiming for the big post. Instead, he appears to have developed a deep grouse that somebody has deprived him of his rightful due, the Chief Minister’s gaddi. From the start, he was opposed to the Rosaiah government and had even criticised it openly. And now he is using the Odarpu yatra as a tool to make his point. Nobody would have objected if Mr Jagan had visited these unfortunate families in a low-key manner. Instead, his earlier tours saw much fanfare, road shows, unveiling of YSR statues and delivering of speeches. He was accompanied by a big motorcade. Hardly the stuff of condolence. The Congress high command understands only too well that the yatra is an attempt by Mr Jagan to develop his clout in the name of YSR and dictate terms to the party. But in his hurry, Mr Jagan seems to have forgotten that every political leader, including his father YSR, is the creation of a party as well. Out of the organisation, even the tallest leader becomes a dwarf. If Mr Jagan merely recalls his father’s life, he would realise that YSR, despite his daring, did not tempt fate. Mr Jagan’s supporters are using the other — specious — argument that the Nehru family is also following dynastic politics. But they seem to have forgotten that right from Mrs Indira Gandhi, leaders of the family spent years understanding politics before taking up major responsibilities. Mr Rahul Gandhi, after a full term as MP is still learning the ropes and is modest enough to say so. But Mr Jagan thinks his demand to be made CM just five months after his formal entry into politics is legitimate. This feeling has provoked him to defy the party leadership and perhaps spoil his own future. Mr Jagan has his strengths: he has statewide appeal, agility and youth. But he lacks the most important virtues of them all — patience and prudence.


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