Telugu Desam Party (TDP) general secretary and party president N Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh commenced a 4,000-km-long padayatra (walkathon) from Kuppam, the constituency where his father has been representing in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district on Friday.
The padayatra aims at listening to problems faced by people across the state, as well as talk about the grievances faced during the YSR Congress reign.
What is the “Yuva Galam”?
The 400-day-foot march called “Yuva Galam” (Voice of the Younger generation) would cover 150 out of 175 assembly constituencies and end up at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district, ahead of the assembly elections in the state scheduled early next year.
Lokesh along with TDP state president Atchannaidu, Hindupur MLA and film star Nandamuri Balakrishna, film actor Tarakaratna, party MPs, MLAs, MLCs commenced the march amidst protection from 400 selected volunteers from the party cadre who will take part in the walkathon and provide shield to the TDP general secretary for a period of 400 days in order to avoid any untoward incidents, to witness the situation at grass root level across the state.
కుప్పం తెలుగుదేశం కుటుంబం ఆత్మీయ స్వాగతానికి ధన్యవాదాలు.తరగని మీ అభిమానం పొందిన నేను అదృష్టవంతుడిని.మీ ఆశీస్సులతో #YuvaGalam మొదలవబోతోంది.పాదయాత్ర ప్రారంభానికి తరలివచ్చిన తెలుగుదేశం పార్టీ పెద్దలు,నేతలు,అభిమానులందరికీ పేరు పేరునా కృతజ్ఞతలు తెలియజేస్తున్నాను. pic.twitter.com/6Xglm5kDID— Lokesh Nara (@naralokesh) January 26, 2023
Significance of padayatras in Telugu politics
Padayatras have a prominent place in the history of Telugu politics where politicians, especially the ones in the Opposition, embark on these journeys to get a favourable people’s mandate in the upcoming elections.
It all started with the then Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Y S Rajasekhara Reddy embarked 60-day, 1,500 km padayatra “Praja Prasthanam” (people’s journey) to highlight drought-related problems across Andhra Pradesh from Chevella in Ranga Reddy district on April 9, 2003.
His padayatra culminated at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district after covering 11 districts including Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, West and East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, and
Vizianagaram districts in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
During his walkathon, the CLP leader has addressed a large number of public meetings and had a patient hearing to the people from all walks of life, who shared the problems they have been facing. Though there is an opposition towards his position as chief minister candidate in the party itself, YSR’s padayatra led the Congress party towards a thumbing victory in the 2004 elections by winning 157 out of 294 Assembly seats.
The party came in to power after a gap of 10 years and for the first time in his political career, YS Rajasekhara Reddy sworn in as chief minister of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. Taking a cue from his foot march, he introduced various development schemes and welfare programmes which led him and his party to once again attain the coveted post and power in the state after 2009 elections.
TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu undertook a 1,700-km-long padyatra, “Vastunna Mee Kosam” (I am coming to reach you) in 2013, contested the assembly elections in the year 2014 and sworn in as first chief minister to Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation of the state. He has to wait almost a period of 12 months to check whether his walkathon yielded desired results or not. It worked out and his party came in to power after the elections to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha in April 2014.
Following the footsteps of his father late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, YSRCP president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the Praja Sankalpa Yatra launched at his home town of Idupulapaya in YSR district on November 6, 2017. The Praja Sankalpa Yatra finally culminated on January 9th, 2019 at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district after covering 2516 villages and 135 assembly constituencies in 13 districts with in a period of 341 days with a distance of 3648 Kms.
The YSRCP founder reached the masses of the state with a slogan “Ravali Jagan Kavali Jagan” (Jagan should come, we need Jagan) and with a tag line ‘Nenu Vinnanu – Nenu Unnanu’ (I am here to listen you). He addressed over 100 public meetings apart from road shows during his padayatra and met as many as 2 crore people. The YSRCP won 151 Assembly seats out of the 175 seats and 22 Parliamentary seats out of the 25 seats and Jagan Mohan Reddy sworn in as youngest chief minister to Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation.
The moment he assumed the charge of chief minister, Jagan directed the official machinery to implement a set of nine welfare programs also called as Navaratnalu, which were promised by him during the poll campaign on war footing basis.
The Navaratnalu including YSR Raithu Bharosa, Fee reimbursement, Youth Employment & Job Creation, Arogyasri, YSR Jalayagnam, Ban on Alcohol, Amma Vodi (Mothers of poor families need not worry about children education. Financial assistance of Rs. 15,000/- given to mothers for children
education.), YSR Asara, YSR Cheyuta, Housing for all poor and Enchancement of Pensions have been implementing without any break or any financial constrains after keeping an eye on the welfare of people across the state by the YSRCP government.
YSRTP president Sharmila also took up a padayatra “Maro Praja Prashthanam” (Another people’s journey) from October 18, 2012, to August 4, 2013 across 14 districts in the undivided Andhra Pradesh. She walked around 3,000 Kms in order to gain people’s support to YSR Congress party, which was newly founded by her imprisoned brother YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in a CBI case.
At present, apart from Sharmila, leadrs like Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan, Telangana BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar and Telangana Congress state president Revanth Reddy are in a mood to launch padayatras in Telugu states.
Speaking to News18, Senior journalist Subramanyam has said that the walkathons by the leaders will have a positive impact on the people. The people are of view that the leaders reached to their door step in order to listen their problems and give some solutions to them. The senior journalist most of the leaders such as YS Rajasekhara Reddy, Chandrababu Naidu and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy have pro-people policies based on the output of the padayatra after they came in to power.
Now, TDP general secretary Lokesh is the recent entrant in the list of leaders who embarked walkathons to draw a favourable attention of the people. One has to wait and watch whether Lokesh’s “Yuva Galam” foot march will yield desired results or not.
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