Ground Report: A lake gone to seed and murmurs of discontent in bustling Ibrahimpatnam

While a farmer says his community is happy with the BRS, others see corruption, steep prices, and the allure of the Congress' promises.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Nov 19, 2023 | 11:00 AMUpdatedNov 19, 2023 | 11:00 AM

Ibrahimpatnam constituency Telangana Assembly elections

With the Telangana Assembly elections 2023 just days away, South First is bringing you ground reports from key constituencies. This series brings you voices from the ground, the mood of the voters, and issues that matter — as well as those that don’t.

In the midst of a bustling crowd of students in Rangareddy district’s Ibrahipatnam, where educational institutes are accorded great importance, a murmur echoes among the semi-urban populace.

This subdued voice expresses a collective desire to alter the political landscape, reminiscent of the aspirations from the previous term, where victory narrowly slipped through their grasp.

In a tea shop interacting with the people he knows, milkman Bikshapathi reduces the volume of a video of BRS candidate Manchi Reddy Kishan Reddy’s public meeting in Ibrahipatnam, “This time we want Congress in power. We gave a chance to the BRS twice,” he said.

“I am in the milk business, and I don’t work for any political party. Nor am I the beneficiary of any political schemes. However, we villagers have decided that we should give a chance to the Congress as Sonia Gandhi gave us Telangana. We want to see how she will improve Telangana,” added Bikshapathi.

“The candidate the Congress announced was an MLA in Malakpet in Hyderabad, and he will do the needful as he understands city development keenly,” he said.

Also read: Local schemes, guarantees make hopes fly high in Narsampet

Frenetic campaigning

The Ibrahipatnam Assembly constituency is bustling with campaign vans of the Congress, the BJP, and the BRS. The party offices conducting public meetings were also metres away from each other.

The supporters of the candidates apparently pelted stones at each other as their leaders hit the road to file nominations. The police had to intervene with a lathi charge.

As for the candidates, Bikshapathi noted, “Manchireddy Kishan Reddy joined the TRS — now the BRS — in 2015. He was in the TDP before that, and that party won Ibrahimpatnam four times. However, the Congress has won from the constituency the most number of times.”

Two major candidates followers conducting meetings meters away from each otherDeepika Pasham/ South First

Two major candidates’ followers conduct meetings metres away. (Deepika Pasham/South First)

In 2018, the vote share among the candidates was such that Kishan Reddy polled 72,581 votes and the Congress’ Malreddy Ranga Reddy got 72,205 votes.

Ranga Reddy is a loyal candidate of the Congress.

He contested independently in 2014 but did not resign from the party.

“In 2018, we were celebrating the fact that he was leading during the counting, but the BRS candidate won by a margin of just above 300 votes at the last moment,” said Bikshapati.

Also read: Amit Shah takes note of lack of coordination in Telangana BJP

Confusion over candidates

Tanveer Sultania a housewife said that she had read six guarantees of the “hand party” — a reference to the Congress’ election symbol — and was excited by the party leadership announcing funds to help women.

Ramesh, who owns a tiffin centre, said there was confusion when MLAs joined other political parties during elections.

Speaking on how two candidates’ names of both the BRS and the Congress are on the list, he said, “The BJP will also get votes, but the candidate whose name was announced was in the BRS.”

Ramesh explained: “As far as we know, Nomula Dayanand Goud of the BJP was a committed fighter during the agitation for a separate Telangana. As the Assembly elections were announced, his campaign vans said he was contesting on a BJP ticket.”

He noted that people who chose a candidate by face value needed to be informed about such a person’s changed political affiliations.

Also read: TDP chooses not to contest Telangana Assembly elections

Garland-makers’ woes

The children and relatives of candidates of political parties were conducting campaigns and rallies on the main road, but no one seemed to be visiting the lanes where the poor are struggling to earn a living, lamented Jahangir Bee, wife of Mohammed Yousif and a resident of Ibrahimpatnam.

“We make garlands. Look at my hands,” said Jahangir. “I am disabled, and I have had no pension for years. We went many times to the MeeSeva Centres, but they said I was ineligible due to my age.”

She explained, without stopping her work: “My Aadhaar data is based on my parents’ recollection of the year I was born. Now I have no document to change my age on the Aadhaar Card. My husband was also disabled. He received a pension for two or three months, after which his name was also deleted from the rolls. Whom should we request and how many times?”

Women making garlands in Ibrahimpatnam Deepika Pasham/ South First

Women making garlands in Ibrahimpatnam. (Deepika Pasham/South First)

The area has several single rooms where families like that of Jahangir live, and everybody makes garlands. The marriage season is a very busy time for them, as only vendors of flower markets hire them at other times.

Fathima’s story is similar to Jahangir’s: She makes garlands to feed herself and her husband Tajuddin, who lost his arms in an accident.

“A negligent driver hit him on the road. He was a hardworking rickshaw-puller,” she recalled.

“We admitted him to the Osmania Hospital and I was with him for three months. I shifted him to a private hospital in Ibrahimpatnam, which cost ₹20,000 from my savings. Now I take care of him at home,” she recounted.

“We went to MeeSeva for a disability certificate, but the people there demanded a bribe of ₹12,000. I could not pay it. We now pay ₹2,000 for rent and make garlands, for which we get ₹100. Even less during the off-season. But there are health issues with this job,” she said.

Also read: KCR says thugs will be born again if Congress wins Telangana

A neglected lake

On the approach to the constituency, the Ibrahimpatnam lake appears on the right side of the road. This lake — one of the final projects commissioned by Golconda monarch Ibrahim Qutb Shah during his 30-year reign from 1550 — followed the construction of the Hussain Sagar lake.

Upon reaching the lake entrance, one encounters cemented benches arranged for seating, along with ample parking space for both two and four-wheelers.

Dominating the entrance is a three-storey structure, with the top bearing the inscription “Municipal Corporation Ibrahimpatnam”. This structure guides visitors towards the lake, with zig-zagging stairs on either side.

Ibrahimpatnam lake found neglected Deepika Pasham/ South First

Ibrahimpatnam Lake was in a neglected state. (Deepika Pasham/South First)

There were groups entering the structure for photoshoots. Unfortunately, as one descends to the lowest step, the once beautiful lake reveals itself as another victim of human negligence, with garbage floating in its waters.

The scenic view is also marred by the disposal of waste — including images of gods, floral garlands, and various items tightly wrapped in plastic covers.

Although the water does not emit a foul odour, a pervasive stench emanates from the accumulated waste.

Not all the garbage finds its way into the water; many plastic bags are carelessly strewn on the stairs, further diminishing the appeal of the surroundings.

Also read: Will dumping CPI(M) and CPI cost BRS dearly?

Other issues

Meanwhile, students in Ibrahimpatnam seek better bus facilities to travel to Hyderabad.

Naresh, studying in Intermediate first year — equivalent to Standard 11 — in a private college in Hyderabad, said: “We have irregular bus timings and also water problems on the highway. The journey takes 45 minutes, and the charges have increased, but the frequency of buses is less.”

He added: “We pay ₹450 for student passes, which should be reduced because students from lower-income families also study in private colleges. They have fees to pay. So, the government should also think about student passes.”

Then there is G Lakshmiah, from the farming community in the Agapallu village of Ibrahimpatnam, who said: “We are happy that all schemes by Chief M minister K Chandrashekar Rao — from Rythu Bandu to Kalyan Lakshmi — are reaching us.

He added: “I have four acres of land, and I received the Rythu Bandu aid of approximately ₹24,000. All farmers are being assisted by the KCR government. So, we would like to see him back in power.”