Who’ll have last laugh in Nandyal?
THE HANS INDIA |
Aug 13,2017 , 06:06 AM IST
“Sir, who will win in Nandyal?” a wayside petty kirana trader asks one of his customers in the capital city. Nandyal, at the extreme end of the State in Rayalaseema, is more than 300 km away from the state capital. Yet the high-voltage byelection interests denizens, triggering discussions on the streets, sometimes polemics over the fortunes of the ruling and the opposition parties.t is exactly 10 days to go for the polls. Pre-poll bettings with high stakes ranging from 1 lakh to 15 lakh mark the election blitzkrieg.
In Nandyal, Reddys constitute 27,000 voters, BCs 65,000, Muslims 60,000 and Balijas 35,000. Keeping in mind the numerical strength of BCs, Deputy CM KE Krishna Murthy is entrusted with electioneering. The CM already toured the constituency twice. He has deployed an army of around 25 MLAs, 10 ministers and the other party seniors. The yellow brigade is waging a grim battle to keep the anti-incumbency embers under control by placating different disillusioned sections
How does the election in a single Assembly segment catch the attention of people of the whole state? It may be due to the fact that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Leader of Opposition YS Jaganmohan Reddy have taken the election personally. Besides, the poll outcome is likely to be a watershed in deciding the course of politics and the fate of the development paradigm of the Naidu government in the next two years of his five-year term. Jagan, accompanied by his strategist Prashant Kishor, sounded the poll bugle with a battle cry the other day.
“It is time to bring the CM to his knees and put an end to his misrule,” thunders Jagan from an election rally. The YCP chief was camping in Nandyal for four days at a stretch, galvanising his party machinery to whip up anti-government sentiment. He is planning to deploy his mother Vijayamma too as part of the plan to bring YSR sentiment back to life.
The Chief Minister already toured the constituency twice and is scheduled to make another round of visit before the election. Besides, he has deployed an army of around 25 MLAs, 10 ministers and the other party seniors who are glued to the constituency since the issue of election notification. The yellow brigade is waging a grim battle to keep the anti-incumbency embers under control by placating different disillusioned sections.
“Notionally, Bhuma Bramhananda Reddy (TDP) and Silpa Mohan Reddy (YCP) are facing the election. Practically, it’s Jagan and Chandrababu who are waging the battle on their behalf” comments a senior sleuth from the Intelligence department.
“Away from home for several days, we are working hard for the victory of our party candidate. To say the least, the hardship associated with spicy food and hot temperatures, part of life in Rayalaseema. But there is no guarantee over the loyalties of the winner until the upcoming election,” observes a senior TDP leader from the coastal Andhra while in the thick of election campaign.
Faction is permanent and party is ephemeral. This seems to be the unwritten rule in Rayalaseema, especially in Kurnool district that might have triggered this comment from the weary TDP wag.
Obviously, the turncoats decide the destiny of politics in Rayalaseema. And, the headmen of the parties, harbouring faction leaders, tend to trail behind the latter, strikingly. In a nutshell, this is what happening in Nandyal during the current elections. Silpa Mohan Reddy fought the 2014 election from the TDP while his rival, Bhuma Nagi Reddy, on the YSRC ticket. In the past, Nagi Reddy was with the TDP and Silpa brothers with the Congress.
When Jagan failed to make it to power, Nagi Reddy desperately switched to the TDP before his death. His defection spurred Silpa brothers to cross the fence in favour of the YCP. In this election, rivals are the same but parties are different. Reddys are faction lords even as members of the other backward castes remain as their followers, risking their lives in the bloody faction feuds. The Reddy community constitutes a minority group numerically.
Still, it manages to retain its hold over the faction world. The Reddy community is believed to have drawn the leadership legacy from the Palegar system in the erstwhile British regime. They were assigned to be headman of a paragana for the purpose of revenue collections, hence they came to be known as “Palegars.”
In Nandyal, Reddys constitute 27,000 voters; Backward Classes 65,000; Muslim Minorities 60,000; Balijas 35,000. Keeping in mind the numerical strength of BCs, Deputy CM KE Krishna Murthy from Eediga community of BCs, is entrusted with the electioneering by the CM. He is assisted by Information and Public Relations Minister Kalva Srinivasulu, whose Boya caste from the BCs is predominantly present in the area.
The local Faction and caste politics apart, the question-- who will have the last laugh, Naidu or Jagan — continues to grip the ruling and opposition camps either and it obviously lasts till the outcome is out.
By G nagaraja
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