As Sharmila prepares to resume walkathon, she emerges as a challenger

By IANS | Published: January 29, 2023 11:24 AM2023-01-29T11:24:17+5:302023-01-29T11:37:18+5:30

Hyderabad, Jan 29 Till a few weeks ago, political pundits in Telangana were hardly taking note of Y. ...

As Sharmila prepares to resume walkathon, she emerges as a challenger | As Sharmila prepares to resume walkathon, she emerges as a challenger

As Sharmila prepares to resume walkathon, she emerges as a challenger

Hyderabad, Jan 29 Till a few weeks ago, political pundits in Telangana were hardly taking note of Y. S. Sharmila but today she has emerged as a serious player who can no longer be ignored.

The alleged attack by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) activists to stop her state-wide padyatra in November shows that the YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) has become a thorn in the flesh for the ruling party.

Sharmila's detention after the attack on her padyatra, her subsequent attempt to stage a protest at Chief Minister KCR's residence in Hyderabad, her dramatic arrest with a car with Sharmila sitting inside being towed away by the police and her hunger strike to protest hurdles being created by the BRS government in the resumption of her padyatra all helped her to capture public attention.

Political observers say Sharmila succeeded in gaining sympathy in some sections by portraying herself as a woman who is at the receiving end for questioning the KCR government.

The daughter of former chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy has drawn the ire of the BRS by launching a bitter attack on its ministers, MLAs and MPs during the padyatra. Her verbal attacks provoked BRS leaders, triggering strong protests and even physical attacks.

When Sharmila, sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy floated the YSRTP in 2021, not many took her seriously. The BJP and the Congress had dubbed her the arrow of KCR to divide the anti-incumbency votes, especially the votes of the powerful Reddy community.

Interestingly, Sharmila's foray into Telangana politics was not liked by her brother who wants to confine himself to Andhra Pradesh. She, however, received support of her mother Vijayamma, who last year resigned as the honorary president of the YSRCP.

Last month, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan condemned the manner in which Sharmila was arrested and several BJP leaders expressed solidarity with her.

There were reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called her but she refused to answer queries about it. All this prompted the BRS leaders including KCR's daughter K. Kavitha to dub her a BJP plant in the state.

Sharmila, however, claims that the YSRTP is the only party that is fighting on behalf of the people of Telangana. She said both the Congress and the BJP failed to expose the failures and corruption of KCR.

The YSRTP leader even submitted ‘documentary proof' of corruption in the Kaleshwaram project to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"YSR Telangana Party is today a threat to KCR and his BRS and they have bitterly turned against us. If you are not scared of the changing public mood and the growing strength of our party, why these attacks," she asked.

In October 2021, she embarked on a padyatra like her late father YSR, who had undertaken a walkathon in then united Andhra Pradesh in 2003 and led the Congress party back to power in 2004.

She has been constantly reassuring people that Rajanna Rajyam or the golden era welfare of the late YSR would be brought back, if the party was voted to power.

Sharmila has already covered over 3500 km and is set to resume the walkathon this week from Warangal district where it was stopped by BRS supporters on November 28, 2022.

The YSRTP is yet to attract major leaders from other parties. A couple of days ago, former MP from Khammam and BRS leader Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy met her, triggering speculation that he will switch loyalties to the YSRTP.

Sharmila has already announced that she will contest elections from Palair, one of the Assembly segments of Khammam Lok Sabha constituency. Ever since launching the YSRTP, she has been focusing on Khammam district, which is located on the border with Andhra Pradesh.

According to political analysts, she chose Palair as it is considered a soft seat for a debut. The party will be looking to capitalize on the advantages Khammam district offers with the strong social and cultural influence of Andhra Pradesh.

As her evangelist husband Anil Kumar hails from Telangana, Sharmila calls herself a daughter-in-law of Telangana to counter those calling her non-local.

However, analysts say as Telangana sentiment is not going to be strong this time and the TRS itself becoming BRS to expand to other states including Andhra Pradesh, Sharmila and her party may not face any adverse campaign by those who see it as an Andhra party.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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