Saturday, October 4, 2008


YSR was first elected to the assembly in 1978.
In 1983, he was re-elected from Pulivendla, Cuddapah. Rajiv Gandhi appointed him state Congress president -- the youngest in Congress history.
The aggressive YSR has another side as well. He is a disciplinarian and is both health and hygiene conscious. He is also particular about yoga and meditation. A former sportsperson -- he was a weightlifter in his student days -- he firmly believes in the idiom, 'A sound soul in a sound body.'
He enjoys reading fiction in the little spare time he gets; his favourite author is Mario Puzo, who wrote the hugely popular bestseller The Godfather. Now, he often complains to friends that he finds it increasingly difficult to steal a few quiet moments to read.
YSR addresses a public rally soon after he became the state Congress chief.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj Reportage : Shobha Warrier

After successive defeats at the hustings in 1994 and 1999, the morale of the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh was at an all time low. YSR made it his mission to revitalise the party.
His missionary zeal could be the reason why he seen as a 'militant politician.' It's an epithet his mother cannot understand. In fact, when asked why people call him the 'Cuddapah Tiger', Jayamma says, "I don't know. His father was called a Tiger. My son is soft-spoken unless he is angry. He is frank and occasionally bursts out, but he never harbours a grudge against anyone."
YSR talks to children at his road show during the assembly election.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj Reportage : Shobha Warrier
In order to touch base with the voters during the assembly election, YSR embarked on a jaitra yatra -- a 1,600-km padayatra -- in the intense heat of the Andhra summer. He used the opportunity to listen to the grievances of the people, especially the farmers, and blast Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu for making 'false promises.'
The response from the electorate was tremendous; it gave the Congress a new lease of life even as it showed the TDP the door.
YSR speaks at a public meeting in Karnavarapukota
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj Reportage : Shobha Warrier

The jaitra yatra was a strength-sapping challenge considering the fierce Andhra summer. But YSR was sure he could do it.
He is an early riser and uses the morning hours to prepare himself for the gruelling day ahead; he knows he will only be able to rest 16 or 17 hours later.
He believes the Telugu Desam paid the price for ignoring rural Andhra. He says his priority is the farmer and the common man. Unlike Naidu, he is said to shun power point presentations.
YSR at one of the villages during the jaitra yatra.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj Reportage : Shobha Warrier

YSR, who is known for his fiery speeches, is the state's most charismatic Congress leader. His advocate Sambasivaiah says, "He has the ability to get votes. He is very ambitious and has long-term plans. No one can do PR like him."
Some say he enjoys filmstar-like glamour, a quality he enhances with his astute use of the Telugu idiom.
At one of his recent public meetings, he had said he would take sanyas if the Congress lost this election.But the Congress' landslide victory has ensured the Cuddapah Tiger will roar again.
Andhra Pradesh assembly election, 1999. He was the chief minister-in-waiting...
Assembly election, 2004. After the manner in which the Congress unexpectedly trounced its opponents in Andhra Pradesh, the wait is finally over for the 'Cuddapah Tiger.'
Dr Yedugoori Sandinti Rajasekhar Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president and architect of the Congress' stupendous victory, is all set to become the state's new chief minister.
Today, jubilant Congress MLAs met at the state assembly to elect their leader. Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Congress Working Committee representative in charge of AP, and Congress leader Shivraj Patil supervised the process, which was seen as a mere formality.
After all, YSR, as Dr Reddy is popularly known, is the man who has revived the Congress. He walked 5,500 km through the gruelling Andhra heat to bond with the electorate. His tapasya impressed the Telugus who decided to give the Congress a 'hand'.
YSR talks to the people during his padayatra.