Telangana election 2018: KCR’s home seat of Gajwel is a study in contrast

Gajwel is a study in contrast if one juxtaposes the prosperous Erravalli village with the dusty hamlets nearby.

telangana elections Updated: Nov 28, 2018 09:52 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, Gajwel
K Chandrasekhar Rao,Gajwel,Telangana polls
TRS president and caretaker chief minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao addresses a party public meeting at Armoor, in Nizamabad district of Telangana on November 22.(PTI Photo)

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has done a lot for his Gajwel constituency in the past four years. Yet, his victory is not a foregone conclusion.

For one,Gajwel is a study in contrast if one juxtaposes the prosperous Erravalli village with the dusty hamlets nearby.

Erravalli, one of the two model villages adopted by KCR, is dotted with picture-perfect double bedroom independent houses fitted with sanitation and drinking water facilities, apart from 24-hour free electricity. This is part of the flagship scheme that the CM launched here and in Narsannpet.

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However, just two kilometres away in Itkyal village, the scheme is yet to take off. “The land for these double bedroom houses is yet to be identified. There has been no change in our lives despite Itkyal being part of Gajwel,” said Rajalingam, who works in a private company in the town. Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s KCR won the 2014 assembly elections from Gajwel, defeating Vanteru Pratap Reddy of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who has since joined the Congress, by about 20,000 votes. Both KCR and Reddy, as the Maha Kootami (grand alliance of Congress and TDP) candidate, are seeking election from Gajwel.

In Erravalli, loyalty to KCR reigns supreme. “No other party is allowed to campaign here,” said tea shop owner Sailu. “KCR is like god for the villagers.”

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Balamani and Yadgiri, two women farmers, agree. “We don’t want to listen to any other candidate. We had one acre of land and KCR gave us additional two acres and also a double bedroom house,” Balamani said.

The distribution of land is part of the TRS’ 2014 election manifesto in which it had promised to provide three acres of agricultural land to each landless Dalit family. But TRS also faces the ire of other villages in Gajwel because the Rythu Bandhu scheme has not reached them.

The Rythu Bandhu scheme is a welfare programme to support farmers with Rs 4,000 per acre per season, twice a year. The state 2018-2019 budget allocated Rs 11,925 core for the scheme.

Residents of villages in Lingarajupet decided to boycott the upcoming elections in protest, but were later persuaded to withdraw their threat following assurances that their demands will be fulfilled . Nephew and state minister T Harish Rao, who is seeking re-election from neighbouring Siddipet constituency, has been entrusted with the task of managing KCR’s campaign in Gajwel. It remains to be seen whether the discontent of other residents of Gajwel will spill onto the polls. The arithmetic of the combined vote share of the ‘Maha Kootami’ or grand alliance will pose a tough challenge, as well.

For full coverage on Telangana assembly election, clickhere.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 09:51 IST