Political strategist Prashant Kishor, who joined Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) in Patna Sunday, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will continue to mentor his organisation Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) and advice its team working for Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh.
Kishor, who formulated the election strategy for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2014 elections, had made a commitment to the YSRCP in 2017 to assist it in preparing strategies to take on the ruling TDP, headed by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The Jagan Mohan-led YSRCP which had failed to gain power in Andhra Pradesh in the 2014 elections, held soon after the bifurcation of the then undivided state, is determined to wrest power in 2019.
In fact Reddy, who is on ‘Praja Sankalpa Yatra‘ across the state, has been propagating the ‘Navaratnalu‘, or nine promises, as identified by the IPAC. The ‘Navaratnalu‘ was devised on the lines of ‘Saath Nishchay’ action plan that IPAC had rolled out for Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in Bihar to counter BJP’s Rs 1.5-lakh crore special assistance ahead of the last Assembly elections.
On Monday, Reddy’s padayatra crossed 3,000 km since it began 264 days ago in last November. He will be covering the last two districts – Vizianagaram and Srikakulam – in the next two months, and end the march at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district near Andhra-Odisha border.
Read | Who is Prashant Kishor?
Under ‘Navaratnalu‘, Reddy has assured to provide basic services, like drainage facilities and piped drinking water, if voted to power in the AP. According to sources, IPAC had identified that people in remote areas of the state wanted better drainage facilities, rather than industrialisation or white-collar jobs.
The party’s ‘Rythu Bharosa‘ scheme – most significant among the nine promises – envisages to give Rs 12,500 per year to every farmer, holding less than five-acre land, for four years. It also promises a price stabilization fund, with an outlay of Rs 3,000 crore, to help farmers get minimum support price for their crops. At least 66 lakh farmers in the state is likely to benefit from this scheme.
The YSRCP has also promised to implement liquor prohibition in three phases – like in Bihar – under ‘Navaratnalu’. The seven other ‘promises’ include loan waiver and interest-free loans to Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWACRA) groups; pension to elderly beneficiaries to be increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000; financial help of Rs 500 per month to ‘eligible’ students from Class I to V, Rs 750 for those in Class VI to X, and Rs 1,000 per month for intermediate students; fee reimbursement to all eligible students; strengthening of health scheme ‘Aarogyasri’; housing for urban and rural poor; and completion of irrigation projects in a phase manner.
Senior YSRCP leader, Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, told The Indian Express that the response to ‘Navaratnalu‘ has been “very encouraging”. “In most public meetings, Jagan Mohan Reddy mentions them and people support this action plan in the form of ‘Navaratnalu’,” he said.