Bhesetti Babji

Leader Position: 
General Secretary, Andhra Pradesh
Leaders State: 
Bhesetti Apparao Babji is a Vice President of Lok Satta Party and District President for Vizianagram District. He is also a member of the party’s Core Committee, State Council and Disciplinary Committee, and Chairman of the Paryavarana Parirakshana Samiti, Vizianagaram District. Babji has the credit of establishing Lok Satta as a force to reckon with in Vizianagaram. His daring and issue based confrontation of opponents having far more financial and political power is a living legend in the area. This approach is complemented by an emotional kinship with and tireless efforts to serve the most powerless in society. Under his leadership, the Vizianagaram district team has achieved significant victories: salvaging the savings of 21,700 depositors when the Urban Bank was liquidated, uncovering corruption to the tune of 12 crores in Zindal mines, complete closure of illegal liquor outlets in 60 panchayats, uncovering of land grabbing based on forged certificates and fresh allotment of 1100 acres of land to 200 farmers, to name a selected few in a long list of accomplishments. The numerous activities and successes continue to receive extensive coverage in local newspaper reports.

To gain the faith, and votes, of the common public, Babji believes that it is imperative for party leaders and cadre to be among the people and be able to address their immediate concerns. Instead of attributing the reluctance of the poor to vote for the party to illiteracy and greed, he advocates that supporters empathize with the misery and desperation they face every day. The viewpoint of people living on a half empty stomach is different from those who need not worry about food. They are naturally in thrall of those who have gained control over resources. Only by helping them in the here and now will a basis be created for them to pay attention to the party’s promise and vision for the future.

His current focus is on building the organizational strength and presence of the party. In every mandal, people have to see the local party office as a place where their problems will be heard and taken up. The cadre needs to be in close contact with people, aggregating and disseminating information. Right now, the key impediment to achieving such a presence is the lack of party funds to provide minimal support for full time cadre. This is a big limitation since most of the party cadre is from socially and economically backward communities. Babji feels that this is an area where party supporters who can afford it can make a significant difference.

In terms of strategy, Babji believes that the desire to change the political culture must be balanced with pragmatism. In order to grab the attention of the public and media, some level of confrontational politics is unavoidable. When politicians act brazenly against public interest, they must be targeted via the media. The language used, while not being crude or vulgar, must nevertheless have a certain intensity and emotional charge. Babji argues from personal experience that this is what people at large respond to. With respect to public appearance, he says that it is difficult for the common people to take someone dressed like an employee and getting off a RTC bus seriously as a political leader. He urges party leaders to shed the white collar approach and pay heed to the public perception of politics and leaders.

Born in 1965 in Vizianagaram, Babji was naturally influenced by his grandfather, Bhesetti Apparao, a freedom fighter and two term MLA from Anakapally. It is no surprise that he is an ardent admirer of that icon of daredevilry, Tanguturi Prakasam. He also counts Gouthu Lachanna, N. G. Ranga and Tenneti Vishwanadham among his role models. Vexation with the inequalities in society and inadequacy of existing politics spurred him to join the Lok Satta movement in 2001. When Lok Satta emerged as a political party in 2006, Babji resigned from his job and dedicated himself to the cause of the people and the party.