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Stakes are very high for YSRCP, TDP-led alliance in water-starved Rayalaseema

High-profile candidates, including Jagan Mohan Reddy, N Chandrababu Naidu, YS Sharmila, Balakrishna, Roja vie for Rayalaseema’s vote

Stakes are very high for YSRCP, TDP-led alliance in water-starved Rayalaseema

Vijayawada: In Rayalaseema, the drought-prone region in Andhra Pradesh known for faction feuds, politics revolves around violence and caste hegemony. Though there has been a significant fall in faction-centric violence in the recent past, the rivalry between several leaders continues with personal allegiance playing a bigger role than the ideology of a political party.

Outcome in Rayalaseema will play a key role in the formation of the next government as the mandate here generally is decisive. Kadapa, Chittoor, Kurnool and Anantapur (undivided districts) form part of the region, where a section of activists have been batting for a separate Statehood. Mercury is hovering around 45-47 degree celsius in the region, popularly called Seema as the area lies in the rain shadow zone of Western Ghats with normal rainfall of 375 to 700 mm during south west and north-east monsoons. Seema cuisine is also known for liberal use of spices in fiery hot curries.

The locals demand Kadapa Steel Plant, allocation of 45 tmc ft water saved from diversion of Godavari waters to the Krishna delta to benefit the Rayalaseema projects, ensure water from Nagarjunasagar tail-end area as mentioned in the AP Reorganisation Act, withdrawal of Terms of Reference (ToR) issued to the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II, opening of KRMB office at Kurnool or Nandyal and shifting of AP High Court to Kurnool.

During the electioneering, the candidates from all hues have been promising augmented irrigation projects through permanent water resource creation and management. Due to blazing temperature, the candidates are planning electioneering from early hours so as to avoid public interaction when the heat reaches the peak.

The region has remained backward over the years due to lack of irrigation and industrial projects with dry crops like groundnut grown in abundance mainly in Anantapur district. Interestingly elections here are seeing a contest by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and his predecessor N Chandrababu Naidu and the last Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh N Kiran Kumar Reddy.

While Jagan is trying his luck for a second term by getting YSRCP elected to Assembly, Naidu is contesting from his stronghold Kuppam in Chittoor district. Jagan is seeking re-election from family bastion Pulivendula in Kadapa district. Kiran Kumar Reddy left Congress and joined BJP and he is in fray for Lok Sabha from Rajampet on behalf of the three party alliance.

The region needs water, funds and employment, Byreddy Rajaswekhara Reddy, founder of Parirakshana Samithi said. Employment opportunities through industrialisation and irrigation projects are sought by the locals to stop exodus of people for labour work to Karnataka and other States.

Jagan’s sister YS Sharmila is in the race for the first time after taking over as APCC president. She is crossing swords from Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency against her cousin and sitting MP YS Avinash Reddy.

Santosh Patnaik
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