I will try to make Cherial a revenue division
His is a story similar to that of rags to riches Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who grew up in utter poverty, saw the world in a way no one could have imagined
Jangaon: His is a story similar to that of rags to riches. Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who grew up in utter poverty, saw the world in a way no one could have imagined. His journey from the dusty drought-prone Khilashapuram village in the erstwhile Warangal district to lawmaker has many ups and downs. Lakshmaiah, who is contesting from Jangaon constituency, faces Muthireddy Yadagiri Reddy of the TRS.
Lakshmaiah, a tireless septuagenarian, who had seen seven elections before, faces yet another toughest test of his life in the December 7 polls to the Assembly. Be it academics, politics or an entrepreneurship, the four-time MLA is a proved champion and needs no illustration in Telugu-speaking States – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
One of the most powerful leaders from the backward classes in the State Lakshmaiah, who had worked as a minister for over a decade in the united Andhra Pradesh, has many distinctions in his career.
When Lakshmaiah was four-year-old, his father Rama Kishtaiah died. He was raised by his mother Radhamma, who worked as an agriculture labourer for just 12 paise a day. Even in struggle, he continued his academics with excellence.
After the completion of Engineering in Mechanics from Osmania University, he bagged the scholarship from Nizam’s Charitable Trust Scholarship for meritorious students for study abroad in 1968. He completed Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma State University in just 11 months.
Since his entry into politics in early 1980s, Lakshmaiah remained loyal to his party, Congress, never changed his constituency, Jangaon, a rare distinction by a politico. Against this backdrop, The Hans India (THI) caught up with Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who is in the thick of campaigning.
THI: How do you see the uncertainty that prevailed over your candidature from Jangaon?
Lakshmaiah: It’s a sort of confusion created by some vested interests. I was confident that the party will never do injustice to the leaders of backward classes as it likely to send wrong signals.
THI: You have lost precious time due to uncertainty over your ticket and is it disadvantage to you?
Lakshmaiah: No. For the last 45 days, I am touring all the villages and mobilising the cadres. I already roamed all around the constituency once and have plenty of time to repeat it. The kind of support I am witnessing in the constituency is something overwhelming.
THI: Why people should vote for you?
Lakshmaiah: Whatever the development that we see in Jangaon constituency is because of the Congress government. During my stint as the legislator of Jangaon, I focused on irrigation. Seven of the 10 reservoirs that have come up under Devadula Lift Irrigation Project are located in Jangaon constituency. Jangaon region is one of the highest milk producers in the country. No less 18,000 households are involved in the dairy industry.
THI: How do you see your prospects in the elections?
Lakshmaiah: The TRS government’s failures and the development taken place during my tenure would easily reflect the mood of the people.
THI: What are your promises?
Lakshmaiah: I will try to make Cherial a revenue division. Underground drainage system in Jangaon town is an urgent need that I would like to take up. Installation of Oggu artiste Chukka Sattaiah’s statue besides constructing a Kala Kshetram as his memorial. Measures to be taken to develop tourism in Chitte Kodur. This apart, we are chalking out a developmental activity mandal-wise.