Ichchapuram: Thousands of YSR Congress Party workers poured into this town in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district on Wednesday for the culmination of a 14-month-long ‘padayatra’ or walkathon by party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
After covering 3,648 km, the Leader of Opposition is concluding his foot-march, claimed to be the longest by a politician in India.
Jagan, as the leader is popularly known, will unveil a pylon to mark the event and address a massive public meeting later in the day.
He started the last day from Kojjiria village walking along with top party leaders including MPs and MLAs.
Youth raised slogans like ‘Raavali Jagan’ as the young leader continued walking, occasionally greeting the people with folded hands and stopping to meet a few.
The party hopes the 429-day-long ‘padayatra’ will help it to storm to power in the elections to be held in April-May.
Party leaders have claimed that Jagan reached out to two crore people during the ‘padayatra’, which covered over 134 out of 175 Assembly constituencies.
He had set out on the ‘padayatra’ on November 6, 2017, from his home town Idupulapya in Kadapa district.
Former poll strategist Prashant Kishor was said to be behind Jagan’s decision to go on a ‘padayatra’.
This mass outreach programme was to conclude in six months but Jagan continued it in view of the elections.
“‘Ravali Jagan’ was a hallmark slogan in the padayatra. People have taken this slogan to their hearts and we witnessed it throughout the State,” said YSRCP MP Vijayasai Reddy.A
Looking to wrest power from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Jagan hopes to repeat the feat of his father and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who undertook a similar ‘padayatra’ and came to power in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.
YSR, as Rajasekhara Reddy was popularly known, had covered 1,450 km under his foot-march, which brought him to power. Interestingly, it was Chandrababu Naidu whom he unseated from power.
YSR died in a helicopter crash in 2009, a few months after he led the Congress party to power for a second consecutive term.
Jagan later quit the Congress party and floated YSR Congress.
In 2014, YSR Congress bagged 67 out of the 175 Assembly seats.