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Year-ender 2021: A roller-coaster ride for Jagan

Year-ender 2021: A roller-coaster ride for Jagan

It was a year of a roller-coaster ride for YSR Congress party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy during the outgoing year 2021.

He achieved some remarkable successes – political and administrative, during the year, but at the same time, witnessed several turbulent situations.

It was an year of complete dominance for the ruling party over its political opponent Telugu Desam Party led by N Chandrababu Naidu.

Name any elections – whether they were gram panchayat elections or mandal/zilla parishad elections, municipal elections or corporation elections; or for that matter the by-election to Tirupati parliamentary seat or Badwel assembly seat, and even the MLC elections, it was the YSRC all the way to record thumping victory.

But the most psychological victory for Jagan and his party was the conquering of Kuppam, the assembly constituency of Naidu, in all the elections, right from panchayat to municipality, held there.

It was a humiliating loss for Naidu and unable to bear this humiliation, he broke down in front of the media, of course quoting a different reason – that the YSRC members had indulged in character assassination of him and his wife Nara Bhuvaneshwari.

However, these victories to the YSRC chief have not come so easily; he had to confront the systems – courts and other constitutional bodies like state election commission.

In fact, the confrontation began in January itself, when then SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar unilaterally announced the schedule for gram panchayats.

The Jagan government had to fight the legal battle in the high court, but lost the fight expectedly.

His government extended total non-cooperation to Nimmagadda in the conduct of elections, but finally the latter had his say.

In the gram panchayat elections held in February, the YSRC emerged victorious. Even after that the confrontation between Jagan and Nimmagadda continued, till the latter relinquished his office on superannuation on March 31.

The chief minister continued to face setbacks in the courts on his various decisions.

The high court struck down the CID probe into the Amaravati land scam. The Jagan government drew a blank even in the Supreme Court which declared that there is no scope for insider trading in Amaravati lands dealings.

In many other issues like closure of Amara Raja Batteries, taking over of Sangem Dairy owned by Dhulipalla Narendra, removal of veteran TDP leader Ashok Gajapathi Raju as the chairman of MANSAS Trust and Simhachalam temple trust etc. too, the Jagan government faced legal setbacks.

During the year, the YSRC government has also faced allegations of witch-hunting its political rivals. The government made an attempt to implicate Naidu in the assigned land dealings in Amaravati, but could not cross the legal hurdles.

The attack on the residence of Naidu by YSRC leaders and workers at Vundavalli and the arrest of TDP spokesman K Pattabhi and many such incidents of targeting the TDP leaders were also witnessed this year.

But the most highlighted incident of political witch-hunt was that of rebel YSR Congress party MP K Raghurama Raju who had become a headache for the Jagan government.

The CID registered a sedition case against him and also a couple of pro-TDP media houses. His arrest from his residence in Hyderabad, his alleged torture in the CID custody, the intervention of the Supreme Court and his release from the military hospital in Secunderabad made big news in the media, like a crime thriller movie.

The sensational disclosures in the murder of Jagan’s uncle Y S Vivekananda Reddy during the CBI investigation also caused a major embarrassment to the Jagan government, as the chief minister’s close aides were named in the charge sheet.

Similarly, the arrest of some YSRC social media activists by the CBI under the directions of the high court for alleged postings against judiciary and judges was also another embarrassment to Jagan.

The Jagan government had been able to implement its welfare schemes as per the calender, but at the same time, they turned out to be too big a burden on the state exchequer.

The state government had to go in for indiscriminate borrowings, divert funds from various other departments and even panchayat raj bodies to provide money for his welfare schemes.

The state finances, affected by dwindling revenues due to Covid-19 pandemic, have plunged into deep crisis so much so that finance minister Buggana Rajendranath had to run to Delhi every time to get the permission from the Centre to borrow more and more loans.

As a result, the state fell into a debt trap and the central agencies went to the extent of threatening to declare state power utilities as defaulters. The state is now not in a position to concede even a reasonable pay hike for the state government employees.

The latest One-Time-Settlement (OTS) scheme of the Jagan government has also been suspected to be an attempt to mobilise Rs 4,000 crore to overcome the financial crisis to some extent.

Though at the closure of 2020, Jagan had announced creation of three capital cities for the state, he could not take it up due to several legal complications.

At the same time, the farmers of Amaravati have been sustaining their agitation demanding that the capital be retained at Amaravati and their 400-km long padayatra to Tirupati also caught nation-wide attention. The BJP, which was initially silent on the issue, was forced to support the Amaravati cause.

Finally, Jagan had to withdraw the bills on three capitals and abolition of APCRDA, realising that he would lose the legal battle in the courts.

Though he announced that he would reintroduce the fool-proof bills, one doesn’t know how long it would take. He also took back his decision to abolish the state legislative council.

The year-long agitation by the workers of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant against the Centre’s decision to privatise it was also a major development in AP during the year. Barring the BJP, all the parties, including the YSRC, extended support to them.

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