YS Sharmila, daughter of undivided Andhra Pradesh's late chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, has set off on a 4,000-km foot march across Telangana, just like her father did in 2003 and became chief minister the following year.
Ms Sharmila, 47, started her yatra on Wednesday and intends to cover 12-15 km every day over the next year in her mission to unseat the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi from power.
Ms Sharmila, who had launched the YSR Telangana Party on July 8, the birth anniversary of her father, has alleged that only Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's family has benefitted from the formation of Telangana. She says 7,000 farmers have died by suicide in the last seven years, that many have lost their jobs and that 1.90 lakh jobs that were to be notified never happened.
The YSR Telangana Party leader had taken a 3,000-kilometre foot march in 2013 when her brother Jagan Mohan Reddy was in jail. His party, the YSR Congress, which is in power in neighboring Andhra Pradesh, has distanced itself from the political activity of Sharmila.
Ms Sharmila, however, has found the backing of her mother, who in fact flagged off the foot march on October 20 and also appealed to the public to support Ms Sharmila as a daughter of Telangana.
Ms Sharmila has been interacting with villagers in person during the foot march.
She has hit out at both the Congress and BJP and has accused them of being hand-in-glove with the ruling TRS.
"The BJP says they have evidence of corruption against the TRS leaders but won't make it public. The Congress leader (Revanth Reddy) calls our party an NGO. Yes we are not-for-profit and here to serve. Whereas that leader was caught in an act of corruption," she says.
Both YSR and Jagan Mohan Reddy have used the foot march to climb to the seat of power. Ms Sharmila has not yet been able to attract any political heavyweight into her party fold yet. She is said to have also employed the services of Prashant Kishor who had helped the YSR Congress in the run-up to the 2019 elections.