Sharmila makes first public attack on brother Jagan and his government

Jagan Mohan Reddy and Sharmila have not been on talking terms for nearly two years now, following a rift in the family

Y.S. Sharmila with Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal (photo: @reallyssharmila/X)
Y.S. Sharmila with Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal (photo: @reallyssharmila/X)

Suresh Dharur

For the first time, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s estranged sister Y.S. Sharmila has gone public in attacking his government on various fronts, and appealed to the people to defeat the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in the coming elections.

Speaking in Vijayawada on Sunday soon after taking over as the state Congress president, Sharmila gave a glimpse of what could be a bitter sibling war ahead over the political legacy of their father and former Congress chief minister of the combined Andhra Pradesh, late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy or YSR.

While Jagan and Sharmila have not been on talking terms for nearly two years now, following a rift in the family, today marked the first time that she offered any public criticism of the performance of his government, accusing it of pushing the state into a debt trap and failing to create employment and attract investments. 

It could not have helped that earlier on Sunday, Sharmila's motorcade was obstructed en route to the Congress office from Vijayawada airport, as claimed by the state unit of the Congress in an X post. "The motorcade of @INC_Andhra President @realyssharmila ji was obstructed en route to the Congress office from the Vijayawada airport. Clearly, the YSRCP government fears the growing popularity of Congress in the state. We are spreading the message of Jannayak @RahulGandhi ji. Our Karyakartas will not be silenced by such tactics!" the post read.

Sharmila joined the Congress on 4 January in New Delhi in the presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders. She was appointed the AP Congress chief on January 16.

Sharmila faces the daunting task of resurrecting the grand old party in a state where it faced a back-to-back drubbing in the 2014 and 2019 elections. In the process, she will be locked in a political battle with her elder brother in staking claim over YSR’s legacy.

Addressing a gathering of Congress workers after taking over the reins of the party, she minced no words in assailing the YSRCP government for failing to protect the interests of the state. Seeking to paint the YSRCP and the opposition Telugu Desam Party led by N. Chandrababu Naidu with the same brush, Sharmila said both parties have become “puppets” of the BJP at the Centre, and did precious little to develop the state. The TDP was in power from 2014-19.

“While Chandrababu boasted about building a new capital city of Amaravati, Jagan promised to develop three capital cities. Both have failed. There is utter confusion and uncertainty now. And both have failed to get special category status for the state,” she said.

Though the NDA government has backtracked on the promise to provide special category status to AP, both the present (YSRCP) and the past (TDP) governments have done nothing, Sharmila lamented. “Both of them are puppets of BJP and every vote to these parties would only help the BJP to rule the state by proxy, “ she said.

Attacking the YSRCP government, she said, “There are no new jobs. Farmers are facing a pathetic situation. The condition of roads in the state is bad. On the financial situation, the less said the better. The government is not in a position to pay salaries to its employees on time. The only thing that is flourishing is the sand, liquor, and mining mafia.”

Coming down heavily on the BJP, she said the bonhomie between YSRCP and TDP and the saffron party failed to yield even 1 lakh jobs for the unemployed youth of the state. “All the 25 MPs from AP and 6 Rajya Sabha MPs are all BJP’s proxies,” she said.

Terming the Congress a true inheritor of her father YSR’s legacy, she called upon the people to join hands with her in her fight against the BJP and the YSRCP.

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