YSR Congress party president and Leader of opposition in Andhra Pradesh assembly Y S Jaganmohan Reddy has crossed a major milestone of 1000 km in his Praja Sankalpam padayatra on Monday.
It is no less an achievement for Jagan to walk for so long, as it requires a lot of mental and physical stamina.
Braving winter chill and dusty climate in villages, he has covered almost every constituency and spoke out his mind.
Though going into the people is not new for him, but this padayatra has definitely been a refreshing experience for him and has given him an opportunity to feel the people’s pulse.
There was an overwhelming response from the people wherever he went and the crowds, especially women, evinced interest in interacting with him.
But, the question is how far Jagan will be able to succeed in turning this response into voters.
The euphoria among the people when Jagan visited their village or town may not continue a few days after he leaves the place.
What Jagan should ensure that there is a follow-up action from the local leaders to sustain the euphoria among the people.
They should capitalise on the visit of Jagan and work hard to convert the affection shown by the people towards him into votes in the next elections.
If there is no follow-up action, the ruling Telugu Desam Party will step in and try to neutralise the impact of Jagan’s tour, either by pumping money or taking up welfare programmes to woo the electorate.
In any case, the impact of padayatra will be only one of the factors that determines the voting and there are other issues like selection of candidates, caste, money and last minute campaign.
Secondly, Jagan cannot confine himself to walking through the villages and addressing meetings. He should also concentrate on local political dynamics, try to identify the problem areas for the party and resolve them.
He has to focus on the constituencies where the party is weak and if there are any loopholes, he should plug them during the padayatra itself.
“If Jagan is interested only on building his personal image through padayatra, he is doing a wrong thing. He has to keep in mind the party interests as a whole,” a senior journalist observed.