Padayatra that changed YSR

HYDERABAD/SRIKAKULAM: It was at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district that Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had completed his epoch-making ‘prasthanam’ — the

1,470 km padayatra — in the scorching summer of 2003 just before the 2004 elections. Little wonder, the prasthanam had been the binding factor between YSR and the north coastal districts.

If the padayatra was the crucial cog in the Congress wheel of electoral fortunes in 2004, it was YSR who had rekindled a new hope for the Congress party in the state by shocking his bete noire Chandrababu Naidu at the hustings.

He entered the district at Payakaraopet after crossing Tuni in East Godavari. He covered a total of more than 300 kms in the region as part of his padayatra, which culminated at Ichchapuram.

“The padayatra brought about a total change in me. I learnt many lessons through this. I came to understand the problems of various sections of society. I observed the lifestyles and livelihoods of the people, which inspired me to do something for the oppressed and needy people,” YSR told mediapersons in Visakhapatnam after his padayatra.

‘They couldn’t trace my husband’s body for 24 hours’

They could not trace my husband’s body for 24 hours. What kind of search operations were these?” sobbed Vijayalakshmi Reddy, widow of the late

chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, as close friends and relatives went up to offer their condolences late Thursday evening.

Sacred chants from the Bhagawad Gita filled the air as gates were opened to let people pay their last respects to YSR at the camp office in Begumpet, close to where the ill-fated helicopter took off on it stragic journey.

The body of YSR was placed in a glass case and wrapped in a white sheet. Most visitors who came to pay their last respects filed past it while some were allowed to circumambulate. Only Congress party workers were allowed access to the camp office and security was tight.

Prominent industrialists, actors and relatives then moved on to the sprawling residence, separated from the camp office by a wall, to offer their condolences to his inconsolable wife. Security here was more relaxed.

Vijayalakshmi was sitting on her bed in a blue saree beside her daughter, clasping the hands of a pastor who was praying to the Almighty to grant her courage to overcome the tragedy.

She was seated in a dimly-lit room, about the size of a tennis court and located on the first floor. A few feet away from the bed were two tables, one of them stacked with photo albums of the family and another on which were about half-a -dozen sets of white dhotis and shirts, all neatly arranged.

Soon a small group of relatives joined the prayers in YSR’s inner quarters, remembering the good times they spent with him. In the eulogy, the pastor described YSR as a man with no enemies, someone who had not even hurt a fly and a person who lived his life just to serve people.

“Let him come in your dreams and guide you,” he told the heartbroken widow, who wailed that she wished she had gone before her husband.

“Whenever I turn on the television, I only see his smiling face”, she said, even as her daughter Sharmila persuaded her to rest. The family had spent a sleepless night after YSR’s chopper went missing over the Nallamala forest near Kurnool.

Close relatives of YSR, who frequented his house, looked at each electronic gadget or a rocking-chair and fondly remembered him. “Your husband meant well for the people. He will always be remembered and you must be brave now,” consoled an elderly relative.

While Vijayalakshmi was overwhelmed with grief, her son YS Jaganmohan Reddy was on the ground floor for the most part. He graciously accepted the condolences as he saw off relatives and well-wishers.

More rains likely in state – Hyderabad

Friday’s low pressure over north west Bay of Bengal intensified on Saturday into a deep depression and was centered 50 km away

from Digha in the West Bengal coast.

Met department officials said the system is likely to move in a north-northwesterly direction and cross Digha by Saturday night.

Under its influence, isolated heavy rain is likely to occur over north coastal regions and Telangana. Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at a few places over south coastal region and Rayalaseema.

Met department is predicting another fresh low-pressure area over north west Bay of Bengal around September 8.

Health – Two more swine flu deaths in Hyderab

Two more swine flu deaths in Hyderabad

Two women died of swine flu here Saturday taking the toll due to influenza A (H1N1) in Andhra Pradesh to four, officials said.

Rupa Devi, 38, who was admitted to government-run Chest Hospital a week ago, succumbed to the illness Saturday. The woman, a resident of Bholakpur area in the city, was brought to the hospital after she did not get any relief from fever at two hospitals.

Another woman, identified as Lakshmi Devi of Kadapa town, died at a private hospital, where she was admitted Aug 25.

This is the second time that two deaths were reported due to swine flu in a single day in the state.

Two men had died of the dreaded virus Tuesday, the first deaths due to swine flu in the state.

Health officials said 126 swine flu cases have been reported in the city. India’s first swine flu case was also reported here May 16.

Swine flu has so far claimed 116 lives in the country.

Rs 10 lakh ex gratia for 4 chopper crash victims


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HYDERABAD: Chief minister K Rosaiah on Saturday announced an amount of Rs 10 lakh as ex gratia for each of the families of the four persons who

died along with Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in the helicopter crash on September 2.

Two pilots, chief security officer and special secretary of the late chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy were on board the helicopter, which had crashed in the Nallamala forest on Wednesday. Rosaiah said the government will also provide a government job to one person in the family. The ex gratia amount will be given immediately to the families.