After months of speculation, YS Sharmila Reddy, sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and YSRCP Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is set to join active politics and float her party in Telangana. Speaking exclusively to CNN-News18, Sharmila promised to bring back ‘Rajanna Rajyam’ in Telangana and also threw light on the possibility of contesting the 2023 assembly elections.
“I want to bring back the legacy of my late father YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who sacrificed his life for united Andhra Pradesh. People of Telangana are not happy, they want a change and we will bring back Rajana Rajyam in the state", Sharmila said. She made the statement after hosting a series of meetings with her late father YSR’s loyalists and well wishers who have been given the task of assessing the ground realities.
But Sharmila’s political ambitions come at the cost of her strained ties with brother Jagan Mohan Reddy who is unhappy with her decision of going solo in Telangana. As she waved at scores of fans gathered outside her Lotus Pond residence in Hyderabad, Jagan’s adviser and senior YSRCP leader Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy addressed a press conference in Vijayawada underscoring that Sharmila has embarked on her own political journey, despite being advised against it by Jagan and other family members.
“I can assure you that there are no personal differences between Jagan and Sharmila, but there are differences of opinion regarding her political entry. Despite being approached by senior party leaders to expand his base in Telangana, Jagan didn’t pursue that idea because he wanted to serve the people of Andhra Pradesh. He also gave the same advise to Sharmila, weighing the challenges of floating a party in Telangana, but she had a different view on the matter", Reddy said.
Sharmila dismissed rumours of growing differences with Jagan but hoped that he would support her decision of taking a political plunge in Telangana. “He is my brother, I supported him in Andhra Pradesh. I think he will support me as well."
The underlying war over YSR’s legacy became more evident when posters of Sharmila erected across Hyderabad featured her father, mother Vijayalakshmi, popularly known as YS Jayamma but pictures of Jagan nor his wife Bharathi were seen.
Although she has always stayed away from the limelight of active politics, Sharmila has been one of the strongest allies of Jagan. When Jagan Mohan Reddy spilt from Congress to form his own party following his father’s death in a helicopter crash in 2009, he received considerable backing from his sister and mother Vijayamma. She single-handedly campaigned for Jagan when he was jailed for 16 months in connection with disproportionate assets case. Jagan went on to secure a landslide victory in the 2019 assembly polls ousting the TDP led by Chandrababu Naidu.
MIXED REACTIONS FROM TRS AND BJP
Sharmila’s political plunge has also ruffled feathers of the ruling TRS government led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. “Nobody can compete with the TRS in Telangana, she has no locus standi here", TRS Minister Gangula Kamalakar said.
Interestingly, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, at the state executive committee of his Telangana Rashtra Samithi, made an interesting comment, referring to Sharmila’s political party
“It requires a lot of strain to launch and run a political party. We have seen the launch of quite a few regional parties in the past in Telangana, whether it was that of former MPs Ale Narendra, Vijayashanti and Devender Goud. They have all hit the dust within no time,” the TRS president said.
Meanwhile, both BJP and Congress have called Sharmila, the B-team of TRS Chief K Chandrasekhar Rao. “Sharmila is an outsider, who cannot follow in the footsteps of her father YS Rajasekhara Reddy. She must first apologise to hundreds of martyrs who laid down their lives for the bifurcation of Telangana because she had vehemently opposed the historic move", Congress MP Revanth Reddy said.
BJP Leader NVVS Prabhakar alleged that Sharmila was launching a new party only to benefit the TRS in the next elections as KCR wants her to cut into BJP votebase.