Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy

Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy (8 July 1949 – 2 September 2009),[1] popularly known as YSR, was the 14th chief minister of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, serving from 2004 to 2009.

Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy
YS Rajasekhara Reddy 2010 stamp of India.jpg
Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy commemorative stamp
14th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
In office
14 May 2004 – 2 September 2009
Preceded byN. Chandrababu Naidu
Succeeded byKonijeti Rosaiah
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
2 December 1989 – 26 April 1999
Preceded byD. N. Reddy
Succeeded byY. S. Vivekananda Reddy
Leader of the Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly
In office
11 October 1999 – 13 May 2004
Chief MinisterN. Chandrababu Naidu
Preceded byP. Janardhan Reddy
Succeeded byN. Chandrababu Naidu
Member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly
In office
11 October 1999 – 2 September 2009
Preceded byY. S. Vivekananda Reddy
Succeeded byY. S. Vijayamma
In office
5 March 1978 – 28 November 1989
Preceded byPenchikala Basi Reddy
Succeeded byY. S. Vivekananda Reddy
Personal details
Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy

(1949-07-08)8 July 1949
Pulivendula, Madras State, India
(present-day Andhra Pradesh)
Died2 September 2009(2009-09-02) (aged 60)
Nallamala Hills, Andhra Pradesh, India
Cause of deathHelicopter crash
Resting placeYSR Ghat
Political partyIndian National Congress
(m. 1971)
ChildrenY. S. Jaganmohan Reddy (son)
Y. S. Sharmila (daughter)
RelativesY. S. Vivekananda Reddy (brother)
Y. S. Avinash Reddy (nephew)
Alma materMahadevappa Rampure Medical College

Reddy was elected to the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Lok Sabha from the Kadapa constituency for four terms and to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for five terms from the Pulivendula constituency. He won every election he contested.[2] In 2003 he undertook a three-month-long padayatra, or walking tour, of 1,475 kilometres (917 mi) during the very hot summer months, across several districts in Andhra Pradesh as a part of his election campaign.[3] He led his party to victory in the following general and assembly elections held in 2004, and did the same in 2009.[4]

On 2 September 2009, a helicopter carrying Reddy went missing in the Nallamala Forest area.[5] The next morning media reported that the helicopter wreckage had been found on top of Rudrakonda Hill, 40 km (25 mi) from Kurnool. The five people aboard were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.[6][7][8] Over a hundred people were reported to have committed suicide on hearing the news of his death.[9]

Personal life

Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy was born on 8 July 1949 into a Christian[10] Reddy middle class family as eldest of five sons for Y. S. Raja Reddy[10] at Pulivendula. Rajasekhara Reddy completed his medical studies in Mahadevappa Rampure Medical College, Gulbarga, Karnataka and served as medical officer at CSI-Campbell Mission Hospital, Jammalamadugu, Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh after completing his studies. In 1973, he established a 70-bed charitable hospital before entering politics.[11] His father Raja Reddy was killed in a bomb attack on 23 May 1998.[12][13]

Reddy was married to Vijaya Lakshmi.[14] They had one son, politician Y. S. Jagan Mohan, and one daughter, Y. S. Sharmila.[15][16] Reddy's younger brother Y. S. Vivekananda is also a Congress politician.

Reddy's parents were devout Christians,[10][17] as was Reddy, who was buried according to Christian rites.[18] Reddy visited Bethlehem and other historically important Christian places in Israel twice. He also visited the Hindu temple of Tirupati regularly.[15][19][20]

Family tree

Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy family
GangammaY. S. Venkat ReddyMangamma
Chinna KondareddyPeddda KondareddySugunammaPrabhudas ReddyRatnammaY. S. Raja ReddyJayammaPurushottam ReddyMary PuneetammaKamalamma
Y. S. Rajasekhara ReddyY. S. VijayammaY. S. Vivekananda ReddySoubhagyamma
Y. S. SharmilaAnil KumarY. S. Jagan Mohan ReddyY. S. Bharathi

Early political career

Reddy entered active politics in 1978 and won the Pulivendula constituency same year and became Minister of State for Rural Development (1980–82), and later shifted to Excise Minister (1982) and Education Minister (1982–83). He continued to retain the same constituency in 1983 and 1985, even when Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao swept to power and the party fared badly in the latter, which saw Indira Gandhi making him State president of the party. He even continued the winning streak for Kadapa constituency for four terms in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Lok Sabha. His return to state politics saw him winning 1999 Assembly elections from same Pulivendula constituency during which he served as Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh State Assembly (1999–2004), but his subsequent winning in 2004 Assembly elections saw him sworn in as 14th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh serving full-term. He won 2009 Assembly elections and continued his tenure as 15th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, which was abruptly cut short by his death on 2 September 2009.[11]

Chief Ministership

First term

During his tenure as Chief Minister, the government of Andhra Pradesh undertook the following projects:

  • On the first day of his tenure in 2004, he provided free electricity for farmers, a campaign project.
  • A health insurance program for rural people living below the poverty line (white card holders), known as Rajiv Arogya Shree, was instituted to pay the entire cost of any necessary surgery up to a maximum of 200,000 (US$2,600).[21]
  • A free public ambulance service was originally started by Satyam and then adopted by Andhra Pradesh.[22]
  • The Pavala Vaddi program provided loans at 3% interest to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurship by rural women.
  • Indiramma illu was a program started to construct heavily subsidised housing for the rural poor.
  • A rice scheme provided a kilogram of rice for two rupees to reduce hunger.[23] The minimum support price for rice was also raised.
  • Full reimbursement of college tuition for the underprivileged and reservations for minorities were instituted.
  • The main emphasis during Reddy's tenure was on social welfare, with a majority of his projects targeted at reducing rural poverty.[24] Apart from these schemes, his government was a role model in implementing the central government's flagship program NREGA.[25]
  • His tenure also saw the significant weakening of the violent extremist left-wing Naxalite movement that was rampant in the state when he assumed office in 2004.[11]

He commenced the Jala Yagnam project to irrigate 4,000,000 hectares (10,000,000 acres) of land through the construction of major, medium and minor irrigation projects.[26] It helped Andhra Pradesh make significant progress in sustainable agriculture by making wastelands cultivatable.

Second term

Reddy's major campaign slogan for the 2009 election was "Development and Credibility". He sought a mandate based on past performance, making no new election promises but vowing to continue and extend ongoing schemes.[27] The opposition parties formed a 'Grand Alliance' (mahakootami) made up of all the major opposition parties including, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the communist parties. The TDP promised numerous inducements including free color televisions and a unique cash transfer scheme (CTS). There was also a new party, Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), floated by a popular film star Chiranjeevi.[28]

The Congress Party under the leadership of Reddy won the contest and came to power for a second time, winning 156 seats in the assembly (148 would be a simple majority). Reddy's party also won 33 seats in parliament out of a total of 42 seats. This feat was seen as a significant victory for Reddy, since he was able to earn a second consecutive term against the odds of anti-incumbency.[29] He became the Congress party's first incumbent chief minister since 1969 to win based on his performance.[30]

Reddy was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the term of 2009–2014 on 20 May 2009. The ceremony was held in Hyderabad's Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium and was attended by a crowd of about 20,000 people.[31]


Reddy was accused of amassing large amounts of money during his tenure as the Chief Minister.[32] He is said to have used populist schemes like irrigation projects and housing schemes to his advantage and earn huge profits through them.[32][33] In a leaked United States diplomatic cable, the American Consul General quotes that there was "widespread corruption that was beyond the pale even for India".[33][34]

The surrender of more than 650 hectares (1,600 acres) of personal land by Reddy to the government to be compliant with the law in December 2006 was criticised by opposition parties. The opposition parties demanded his resignation for owning the land in violation of the law.[35] N. Chandrababu Naidu also called for Reddy's resignation after a 2007 Khammam police shooting resulted in eight deaths.[36] Despite criticism, he won general and assembly elections and sworn in as Chief Minister again in 2009.

A federal probe of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was also launched to investigate disproportionate assets acquired by his son, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, in return for favours his father made to the industrialists. In May 2012, the CBI arrested Mopidevi Venkataramana, the then Infrastructure Minister in Reddy's cabinet, who was responsible for unduly assigning the land to a private organisation called VANPIC. This incident called the credibility of Reddy's entire cabinet into question.[37]

Disappearance and death

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paying homage at the mortal remains of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy

Reddy's Bell 430 helicopter went missing on Wednesday, 2 September 2009 at 9:35 am. Begumpet and Shamshabad air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft at 10:02 am while it was passing through the dense Nallamala forest area.[38] The Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, P. Ramakanth Reddy, said that inclement weather had forced the helicopter off course.[39][40] Although the sparsely populated forest area is considered to be a stronghold of the outlawed Naxal communist insurgents, the National Security Advisor of India ruled out the possibility of the Naxals bringing down the helicopter.[41]

The Indian Prime Minister's Office confirmed the helicopter's crash on the morning of 3 September, Thursday, and the death of all aboard, namely Reddy, his Special Secretary P. Subrahmanyam, Chief Security Officer A. S. C. Wesley, Group Captain S. K. Bhatia and Captain M. S. Reddy.[42][43] The Director General of Police said that the bodies were charred beyond recognition and had to be identified on the basis of clothing.[44] The autopsy of all the bodies was carried out at Kurnool Medical College.[45]

An investigation eventually concluded that the factors that caused that crash included a problem with the transmission oil pressure system that distracted the crew from the worsening weather for more than six minutes. It was also noted that the pilots of the helicopter never discussed the bad weather, diverting, or returning to base.[46]

Reddy's body was buried on 4 September at Idupulapai in Kadapa district with full state honours in accordance with Christian rites[47][48] by the Church of South India clergy.


A Telugu television station, NTV, reported that as many as 122 people died of shock or committed suicide upon hearing the news of Reddy's death, many of whom were young supporters or those who benefited from his social welfare schemes. This was not, however, independently confirmed.[49]

Finance Minister Konijeti Rosaiah was sworn in as Chief Minister following Reddy's death.[50]

Six months after his death, Reddy's son, Jagan, began a condolence tour (Odarpu Yatra) to meet the families of those who either allegedly committed suicide or died of shock after hearing the death of his father. The Congress party's central leadership directed Jagan to call off the Odarpu Yatra, but he refused. The tour was successful and established Jagan as a major political force in state politics. He resigned from the Congress party on 29 November 2010 and announced on 7 December 2010 from Pulivendula that he would be starting a new party within 45 days. On 16 February the YSR Congress Party came into existence with Jagan as its president.

Elections for the seats left vacant due to the resignations of Jagan and Y. S. Vijayamma (Reddy's wife) were held on 8 May 2011. Contesting on behalf of the newly formed YSR Congress Party, Jagan and Vijayamma both won easily.


See also


  1. ^ SRINIVASULU, K (2009). "Y S Rajasekhara Reddy: A Political Appraisal". Economic and Political Weekly. 44 (38): 8–10. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 25663561.
  2. ^ "YSR's pocket borough, 21 April 2009. The Hindu". The Hindu. India. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  3. ^ ""Admirers mob 'pilgrim YSR' " The Hindu". Hinduonnet.com. 18 June 2003. Archived from the original on 9 August 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ "Tragedies in Yeduguri Sandinti Family". The Hindu. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Death came without warning for, YSR". The Times of India. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Andhra CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy dies". Press Trust of India. 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Mystery over Andhra CM's whereabouts after chopper lands". The Hindustan Times. India. 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  8. ^ "Army, IAF search for missing Andhra CM as confusion reigns". Ibnlive.in.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Over 100 die after YSR's death, son appeals for calm". 4 September 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Prasada Reddy, T. Sivarama, An Autobiography of Y. S. Chinna Konda Reddy, published by Y. S. Prakash Reddy, Kadapa, 2010.[1]
  11. ^ a b c "YSR: A doctor with a finger on the public pulse". Mid-Day. Hyderabad: IANS. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  12. ^ Somasekhar, M. (18 March 2019). "Tragedies dog the Yeduguri Sandinti family". The Hindu Business Line. Archived from the original on 22 April 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Rediff On The NeT: AP Congress chief's father killed in bomb attack". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  14. ^ "More cheap rice, free power". The Indian Express. India. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  15. ^ a b "YSR leaves for pilgrimage to Israel". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  16. ^ "'Shooting' for posterity". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 16 August 2004. Archived from the original on 29 August 2004. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  17. ^ Sai, J S (7 September 1999). "In Cuddapah, YSR is king". Rediff. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
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  19. ^ P Neelima (4 September 2009). "A Christian, YSR a regular at Tirumala". The Times of India. India. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  20. ^ Venkatesha Babu. "YS Rajasekhara Reddy : A tiger who will roar no more". Mint Lounge. India: HT Media. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  21. ^ "YSR wants Arogyasree, 108 and 104 under one umbrella".[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "108 service was YSR's brainchild". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 6 September 2009. Archived from the original on 8 September 2009.
  23. ^ Charya, K.V.V.V. (10 December 2007). "Rs 2/kg rice to add Rs 3,000cr burden on Andhra coffers". The Financial Express. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
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  25. ^ "NREGA: Andhra Pradesh shows the way". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 11 September 2008.
  26. ^ Ram Goginei. "Jalayagnam in Andhra Pradesh, India". Jalayagnam.org. Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
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  28. ^ "YSR-Chief Minister Of AndhraPradesh-English news paper articels [sic] – Page 2". Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
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  31. ^ "YSR Reddy sworn-in as Andhra Pradesh CM". Hindustan Times. India: Press Trust of India. 20 May 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
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  34. ^ "YSR Reddy's government was engaged in corruption: WikiLeaks". India Today. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  35. ^ "I've 1,000 acres more, says CM". The Times of India. India. 19 December 2006. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  36. ^ "Khammam police firing unfortunate, says Andhra CM". www.outlookindia.com. Archived from the original on 30 October 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
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External links

Preceded by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Succeeded by