YSR end of a controversial tenure

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy's tragic death in a helicopter crash, at the peak of his career, has shaken the entire political spectrum; our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends,relatives, colleagues, party men and followers.

Political career
In a career spanning over three decades, YSR as he was popularly known as, was elected to the Lok Sabha four times from Kadapa (Cuddappa) constituency and five times to the State Assembly from Pulivendula constituency of Andhra Pradesh. At a time when the state Congress was feeling the pinch of the non-availability of a charismatic leader, YSR pitched in and made full use of the opportunity. He served as president of APCC twice (1983-1985 and 1998-2000) and as minister from 1980-1983. He was Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly during Chandrababu Naidu's tenure as Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004.

YSR undertook a massive padayatra (1500 kms) across the state in 2003, covering many villages and rural areas, and led his party to a grand victory in the 2004 elections to both Parliament and Assembly, to the shock of the TDP and surprise of the Congress high command. His party won 185 assembly seats and he became Chief
Minister. In the 2009 elections for Parliament and Assembly, he led from the front on a plank of "Development and Credibility" and won 33 Lok Saba and 156 Assembly seats, becoming Chief Minister again. But barely three
months late, travelling by helicopter from Hyderabad to Chithoor, he suddenly closed his life story
as his chopper crashed on a hilltop in Nallamala forest area.

Tenure full of controversies, Welfare Schemes for the masses
During his first term as Chief Minister from 2004 to 2009, YSR implemented many new welfare schemes apart from the usual freebies such as free power for farmers, waiver of loans, Rs 2/kg rice, which have become the order of governance in the country now. Some schemes, launched with fanfare, include "Jalayagnam" (water
conservation), a program of more than 50 large, medium and small irrigation projects worth more than Rs. 50,000
crores; "Arogya Shree," a community health insurance scheme for BPL families; "Pavala Vaddi" or interest subsidy, a program to provide loans to people, particularly women SHGs, at 3% per annum to encourage them to take up small entrepreneurial businesses; "Indiramma illu," a program for construction of houses for the rural masses, the
major share of which is borne by the government.

Though the Congress party claims these schemes and many others have been a success, the opposition parties have alleged rampant corruption in implementation of the schemes. Probably a change of regime in future might bring out the facts regarding implementation of these much hyped schemes. Also, if the schemes prove really "remunerative," succeeding regimes may continue with them, perhaps under a different name!

However, Rajasekhar Reddy was termed a pro-poor leader and the rural masses loved and adored him,
particularly as he periodically increased the procurement price of paddy, which reduced farmer-suicides to a huge extent to almost nil status.
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