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YSR’s recorded voice stars in Sharmila’s Kadapa campaign

It’s a voice that was recorded in the 2004 campaign. The iconic leader Rajasekhara Reddy is no more, but his voice lives on.

YS SharmilaPRODDATUR (Kadapa): In the high-stakes battle for the Kadapa parliamentary constituency, Congress leader Y S Sharmila Reddy is leaving no stone unturned to woo voters by invoking the political legacy and popularity of her late father, the iconic Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), the former Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh.

Sharmila, who merged her party into the Congress ahead of elections, is taking on her cousin Avinash Reddy, the YSR Congress candidate accused in the murder case of their uncle and the party’s senior leader, Y S Vivekananda Reddy.

As Sharmila campaigns in the bylanes and streets of Proddatur, one of the seven assembly segments under the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat, crowds swell to cheer the state Congress president when they hear the recorded voice of her father, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in September 2009.

“Namaste amma (mother), akka (sister), and paapa (child). Namaste, namaste to all,” the former CM’s voice greets the crowds, especially in the Muslim-dominated Jinha Road area.

After the recorded voice stops, the party’s election song “O Sharmila, O Sharmila” plays like a Tollywood hit, sending the gathering into a frenzy.

Standing atop an open vehicle adorned with party posters, Sharmila addresses the gatherings, repeating the lyrics of her election song, suggesting she was introduced to politics like a sword forged in fire.

“I am the daughter of Dr Rajasekhara Reddy. Vote for me, make me victorious,” she urges as the crowd in Darga Bazaar cheers.

Sharmila accuses her opponent, Avinash Reddy, of being involved in the murder of her uncle and YSR Congress leader Vivekananda Reddy.

“The CBI has named Avinash Reddy as an accused, but he is my opposing candidate. You should decide if you will vote for someone accused of murder or for me, the daughter of Rajasekhara Reddy, who always fought for the rights of the people,” she tells the crowd.

As her vehicle passes through another street of Proddatur, Sharmila occasionally waves and says “Namaste” to a large number of women voters, some burka-clad, while moving through the narrow streets.

At one stop, after her father’s recorded voice greets the crowd, she takes a dig at her brother, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the incumbent Chief Minister, accusing him of aligning with the BJP and TDP chief and former CM Chandrababu Naidu.

Sharmila again takes the mic and says, “This morning, I gifted a mirror to my brother to see his face in it and asked him if he saw himself or TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, who he has been claiming is funding my election and the campaign. He is obsessed with Naidu.”

“I would like to tell you all that you should vote for Congress as this is the only party that is looking for change. Both Naidu and my brother Jagan are aligned with the BJP, so whoever you vote for will ultimately benefit the BJP. If you want to vote against the BJP, then you should vote for Congress,” she adds.

Again, her father’s voice comes on, a well-thought strategy to re-establish a deep connect with the people who have not yet forgotten their poor and farmer-friendly leader.

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