YS Jaganmohan Reddy knew that the momentum was in his favour and he had to seize that. He has won big and will be the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. It is a massive win for the YSR Congress Party, which even Jagan and his supporters did not expect. He has won both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections big, almost decimating his rival in state politics TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu.
In 2014, Jagan had suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Naidu. A fighter like his father, the late CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy, he bounced back. Within months of that defeat, Jagan was back in action, taking on the Naidu government. He took out a padyatra across the length and breadth of the state, covering over 3,500 km by foot enthusing his party cadres. It had paid off handsomely.
Jagan, a restless and moody person, is quiet reserved. After deliberating with his close circles, he changed the strategy and focused his entire energy and campaign on bringing his party to power at any cost. For every strategy of Naidu, Jagan had a counter strategy. He took him head on, challenging the CM to defeat him this time.
Naidu coming out of National Democratic Alliance, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being unfair to Andhra Pradesh has also helped Jagan to some extent. An angry BJP sided with Jagan to teach a lesson to Naidu who made all sorts of allegations against them. But there was no official alliance between the two for strategic reasons. Both kept attacking Naidu, separately.
Chief Minister of neighboring Telangana, K Chandrashekar Rao also backed Jagan. Again unofficially. KCR had to settle personal scores with his old friend-turned-foe Naidu.
Above all, Jagan had the backroom and strategy support of Prashant Kishore of I-PAC. Two years ago, he had hired him to run his campaign. I-PAC had set up a state-of-the-art office in Hyderabad to counter Naidu’s hi-tech campaign. Finally Naidu, a media savvy leader had met his match.
On the day of voting, the I-PAC team had declared that Jagan had won. They were so confident that there was no need to count the votes. They were right.
Jagan was expecting a hung Parliament and was hoping to back PM Modi in New Delhi. Since Modi has won big on his own, Jagan will have no role at the Centre.
With power, comes huge responsibilities. After partition in 2014, Andhra Pradesh has been facing a huge resource crunch. The new capital, Amaravati, is still a dream as the construction work is moving at a snail’s pace.
The rural distress is also a matter of big concern. As one of his close aides commented, “Jagan has promised something to everyone. Keeping all his promises would be a big challenge as the state lacks resources.”
Jagan, a few years ago jailed by his own party Congress in a disproportionate assets case, hounded and humiliated has made a remarkable turnaround. All in just eight years. His only rival in the state Naidu is already 69 years old. By 2024, he would 74. And Jagan is still 46 and the age is on his side.