Jaganmohan Reddy promises to rename district sparks controversy
Jagan made the announcement at a rally in Akiveedu in Undi block as part of his ongoing marathon ‘padyatra’ (foot march) on Friday eveningindia Updated: May 26, 2018 23:40 IST
Yuvajana Shramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s promise to rename West Godavari district in the coastal Andhra Pradesh after the revolutionary freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju, if he is voted to power in the 2019 assembly polls, has kicked up a controversy.
Jagan made the announcement at a rally in Akiveedu in Undi block as part of his ongoing marathon ‘padyatra’ (foot march) on Friday evening. He said though Sitarama Raju, who had shaken the British by leading an armed rebellion front with the support of tribals during the freedom movement, hailed from West Godavari district, successive governments did not honour him.
“The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government has scant respect for such a great revolutionary. It did not even establish a memorial for him and neglected his native place. If I am voted to power in 2019, I will name West Godavari as Alluri Sitarama Raju district,” Jagan said.
The TDP took the announcement with a pinch of salt. “Obviously, Jagan was trying to woo the Kshatriya (Raju) community which is predominant in West Godavari. Though the demand for renaming was raised by Rajus long ago, it did not gain much support,” senior TDP leader and industrialist Kanumuri Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju said.
He said while the revolutionary leader’s father belonged to West Godavari, Alluri himself was born in Vizianagaram district, and had led the rebellion in tribal areas of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari district. “He was killed in Narsipatnam. His memorial is still there. In fact, there has been a demand to create a new district after him in the tribal areas where he had led the armed struggle,” Kanumuri said.
In the 2014 elections, the TDP had bagged all 15 assembly seats in West Godavari, thanks to the large scale support extended by the Kshatriya community.
“Jagan is trying to attract the community by raking up the demand. But it will not happen, as Godavari river is a lifeline for the region and a matter of huge sentiment for its people,” he said.
Last month, Jagan had made a similar announcement in Krishna district’s Nimmakuru village, saying he would rename the district after former chief minister NT Rama Rao, who was also the founder of TDP.
“NTR is a universal leader. Restricting him to one district is not appropriate. Obviously, Jagan is trying to gain political mileage by making such decisions,” TDP legislator Bonda Uma had said.
Kadapa district was renamed as YSR Kadapa district in 2010, after the death of former chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy.