Jagan Mohan Reddy
Jagan Mohan ReddyFacebook

It was a rare father and son duo, who had thrown open a new political mantra to the world -- Padayatra. While AP leaders like NT Rama Rao did undertake such tours across the state in a van, Jagan's father and then Congress party leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy discarded vehicles and took to walking all over the state to connect personally with people at the grassroots level.

YSR, as he is known fondly in the state, Jagan's father never relented until his efforts paid him off with the Congress Party coming to power in Andhra Pradesh in 2004 Assembly elections. His unique Padayatra has remained a model ever since as a successful model for aspiring political leaders but few followed the time-tested tough road to power. His son too followed on his father's footsteps and finally emerged successful winning 145 out of 175 seats in the state assembly.

When YSR died in a helicopter crash in Sept 2009, more than 100 people died of either shock or by committing suicide. Six months later, his son Jagan undertook a Odarpu (Condolence) Yatra, visiting the families of those who died after hearing the death news of his father, despite appeals from the Congress High command to the contrary.

Soon, Jagan and his mother YS Vijayamma resigned from the Congress party and formed a new party named YSR Congress in February 2011. Later, they re-contested and got elected from the seats they resigned earlier. But for Jagan, the road to power remained equally elusive. With a corruption case haunting him throughout, he had to spend more than a year in Hyderabad jail. His efforts to win the AP Assembly elections in 2014 too proved futile, though his party YSR Congress lost with just 1.5% margin of votes polled.

He launched his 'Praja Sankalpa Padayatra' that took him across 125 Assembly segments in 13 districts of the state in 430 days from November 6,2017 to January 9, 2019. This time, he'd never let any stone unturned. He even roped in analytics experts like Prashant Kishore. Above all, repeated mistakes of TDP helped him wean the public support and win handsdown this time.

From the time of Odarupu Yatra in 2010 to recent Sankalpa Yatra before the 2019 elections, Jagan has walked a distance of more than 3,000 kilometres, unparalleled in India's political history.