Ground Report: Political shifts, promises — both unkept and unfulfilled — mark Lok Sabha race for Warangal (SC)

This Madiga-dominated Lok Sabha constituency has a lot to ask for from the person who would get to represent it in Parliament.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Apr 20, 2024 | 9:30 AMUpdatedApr 20, 2024 | 9:30 AM

Ground Report: Political shifts, promises — both unkept and unfulfilled — mark Lok Sabha race for Warangal (SC)

Unexpected floods struck Moranchapalli in the Jayashankar Bhupalpally district — part of the Scheduled Caste (SC)-reserved Warangal Lok Sabha constituency — last year, disrupting the peaceful activities of children playing, households engaged in their daily chores, and the elderly seeking relaxation indoors.

It became a nightmare for everyone, with many fearing that those seated on the veranda might have been swept away, even as many others were perched on elevated platforms in the houses.

V Bhupathi Reddy, who began farming in 2017, suffered significant losses as both his fields and his parents’ house were destroyed.

He recounted the harrowing experience to South First: “It was an evening in August 2023 when we heard shouts from neighbouring houses about water flooding our farms and homes.”

The situation of the how house collapsed due to floods

The situation of the how house of Bhupathi Reddy collapsed due to floods (Supplied)

He recalled: “Communication became impossible as phone lines were cut off. My parents were residing in a house adjacent to mine, and it collapsed. Initially, we feared they had been swept away by the floods. My wife, daughter, and I remained on elevated platforms, fearing we too would be engulfed by the rising waters if we descended.”

Reddy continued: “I ventured out After a couple of hours and found my parents submerged in waist-deep water, akin to a swimming pool. Eventually, one of their rooms was washed away.”

Numerous individuals were swept away in those floods, which also led to the partial or total collapse of many houses.

Reddy said: “We urge the central team, which conducted inspections in the affected areas, to prioritise the reconstruction of our homes.”

He noted that the Bhupalpally district collector had given people like him ₹20,000-25,000 during floods, but the sum was not enough to compensate for any of their losses.

“Most of the houses still have cracks,” said V Bhupathi Reddy, pointing South First to his home.

“We were told that amounts would be sanctioned from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), but after we incurred expenditures on houses and fields to recover from our losses, no help has come so far,” he said.

“I request through South First that a Central team be allotted to the states — especially Telangana — where thousands of poor farmers have no organisation to seek help,” he added.

Related: Once friends, they are electoral foes in Warangal now

The caste equations

The population in the Warangal (SC) seat is dominated by Reddys and members of the Backward Classes (BCs).

Congress candidate Kadiyam Kavya belongs to the Byndla community, which is one of the 56 sub-castes under SCs.

The majority of the population beings of the Madiga subcaste, which is not satisfied with the candidate.

The ongoing discussion in the constituency is also about her recent shift from BRS to Congress.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders opined in a closed meeting that Kavya’s father Kadiyam Srihari — who made the party jump with his daughter — would have at least been a better choice.

BRS leader Pasunoori Dayakar won the seat for the last two terms. He being an architect and also belonging to the Madiga caste had only boosted his winning margin.

However, he, too, joined Congress hoping for a ticket for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He was not allotted a ticket from Warangal (SC).

Related: Kadiyam Kavya is Congress candidate for Warangal

Major issues of constituency

A woman doing her daily chores elaborated that her children were facing issues due to the absence of a local school. They have to travel — for any better facility — to Hanumakonda, which is like Hyderabad to Warangal.

D Pavani, a degree-holding homemaker, explained, “The safety of my girl children is worrisome as there are no educational institutions. We need to enrol them in private institutions far from our homes.”

She added: “The rate of crimes against women is also increasing. The reasons have a wide range. Then there is the fee structure. We have to pay lakhs. Then there are fees for college buses because the transport system here is the worst in the state.”

She continued: “Despite us requesting help from the state government, no guidelines have been made for educational institutions. The Central government should ask states to make guidelines on education.”

Pavani also pointed out: “I see a lot of advertisements on TV where Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks about ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, but I sincerely doubt if any educational institutions from the Central government are sanctioned for districts.

She added: “People talk about Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan schools, which have not been opened in our district. If they are, I will be the first to admit my daughters there. The situation is that families below the poverty line have to depend on children to earn.”

Kakatiya Thermal Power Station (KKP) located near Chelpur village of Ghanpur mandal

Kakatiya Thermal Power Station (KKP) located near Chelpur village of Ghanpur mandal (Deepika Pasham/ South First)

Praising the National Skill Development Scheme, under which women got training for stitching, C Aruna said, “The women in Warangal are mostly homemakers and they seek an employment opportunity. We were trained, but local politicians influenced the machine distribution. The process should be transparent.

She added: “More courses like beauty parlour and embroidering are being included in a few places [in the scheme], so we want them as well.”

T Karthik explained the youth’s requirements: “The MP has to look at the promise during the bifurcation of state by PM Modi of a rail coach factory at Kazipet, which is unfulfilled. The Kakatiya Thermal Power Station has employed locals, but outsiders are comparatively more in number. The pollution through such projects is also immense.”

He added: “However, no MP talks about railway lines connecting to districts. The bus services in the state are increasing the prices of tickets and people largely depend on trains for affordability. What is the point if we spend thousands for last-mile connectivity?”

He also said: “There are also no skilling centres for youth employment.”

Also Read: Telangana is eyeing tier-2, 3 cities for IT expansion

The health scheme benefits

In the Government General Hospital located in Bhupalpally district, a few women highlighted several issues in Telangana.

Ponnala Shravani told South First, “We would like to see Modi as our prime minister because the Aarogyasri scheme card is our saviour. The state and Central governments help us with assistance.”

Women like her also hailed Anganwadi centres that were helping the underprivileged of their gender.

Another woman asked if Rahul Gandhi should also be voted into power. Then they both noted that there were increased power cuts under the Congress government in Telangana.

One of the Primary School condition in Warangal (SC)

One of the Primary School conditions in Warangal (SC) (Deepika Pasham/ South First)

They added that this had not been the case when BRS was in power and K Chandrashekar Rao was the chief minister.

As South First toured Warangal, one major concern women expressed was the absence of public toilets for them.

They also pointed to the problems of their family members. For example, some said a primary school’s building was destroyed in last year’s floods, but children still go to the same school.

Also Read: Ex-BRS MLA ‘kidnapped’ to stop him from joining BJP

The last-moment politics

The ground-level situation in Warangal (SC) appears to signal a reluctance towards Congress’ decision to nominate Kadiyam Kavya for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Despite her familial recognition, there appears to be a disconnect among Congress members regarding Kavya’s candidacy, partly due to her recent switch from BRS.

Initially, Kadiyam Kavya received a ticket from BRS to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the same constituency.

However, she withdrew her candidacy on 28 March, citing recent corruption allegations against party leaders, which she believed tarnished BRS’ reputation.

Following her resignation from the party, Kavya and her father Kadiyam Srihari — a senior BRS leader — joined Congress on 31 March.

Subsequently, Congress announced Kavya as its candidate for the Warangal (SC) Lok Sabha seat.

All candidates from the three major parties are first-time contenders. Notably, both BJP and Congress candidates are former BRS members who resigned recently.

In response to Congress nominating Kavya, BJP fielded Aroori Ramesh, the former MLA from Wardhannapet who won it in a BRS ticket, as its candidate.

Meanwhile, BRS announced Marepalli Sudhir Kumar, currently serving as the Zilla Parishad chairperson in Hanumakonda, as its candidate just days ago.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)