Interview: ‘I am 200% confident of becoming the first Adivasi woman from Adilabad to enter Parliament,’ says Atram Suguna

Congress candidate Atram Suguna says people identify themselves with her since she also has a poor background.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published May 01, 2024 | 8:00 AM Updated May 02, 2024 | 4:11 PM

Interview: ‘I am 200% confident of becoming the first Adivasi woman from Adilabad to enter Parliament,’ says Atram Suguna

Government teacher-turned-politician Atram Suguna is confident of winning the Lok Sabha election from the Adilabad constituency.

The debutant politician put her chances of winning at ‘200 percent’ but hastened to add that she would fight for the development of the constituency reserved for candidates from Schedule Tribe communities, irrespective of the poll outcome.

On the way forward after winning, the Congress candidate said she would raise her voice for roads, universities, a facility of the Cement Corporation of India, and funds for Adilabad.

Q. How has been campaigning so far?

A. My campaigning is progressing well. I have been on the campaign trail for the past three months. I filed my nomination papers recently in the presence of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy. People in all the seven Assembly constituencies are positively responding, and the Congress will win Adilabad.

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Q. When did you decide to join politics? What do you wish to achieve?

A. Even while working, I used to join protests in connection with the deaths of farmers and pregnant women, forest land, and irrigation projects. The BRS has registered more than 36 criminal cases against me for participating in protests. I realised that I could not do justice to the public and my job. I understood that the Congress is the people’s party, a party that stays by the people. I felt that if I joined Congress, my goal of serving people would be fulfilled. So I joined the Congress after resigning from my job.

Q. Will you be returning to teaching if you do not win the election?  

A. I am 100 percent confident that I will win. I am 200 percent sure of winning the seat. If otherwise, I will stay with the public until I die and I will never return to the job.

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Q. What did the other political parties’ candidates have done for the constituency and what are your plans? 

A. BRS and BJP are one team. They have been enjoying the positions of MLA, and MP. One of the candidates has moved to another party as he did not get a ticket from his party. Neither the political parties nor its members have done anything for Adilabad.

Athram Sakku from the BRS and the BJP’s G Nagesh have done nothing. People respect me since I am a new candidate who was part of agitations and stood by the people on several issues. The Congress has formed a government in the state and it will also form a government at the Centre.

Adilabad will also be developed. It is a backward constituency with SCs and STs. It has scope for more growth. My goal is to develop Adilabad. I will demand roads, water, funds, and projects. For the past three to four months, we have been fighting for a railway link between Armoor and Adilabad. No other candidate, party or politician has raised this issue.

My Congress will work for us. The idea of 108 ambulances was by the Congress government. It also protected the rights of the tribespeople.

Also Read: BJP seeking 400 seats to change Constitution, abolish reservations: Revanth Reddy

Q. There is an allegation that the Cement Corporation of India’s unit in Adilabad was closed during the Congress rule. Chief Minister Revanth Reddy has promised to re-open it. What is your take?

A. Yes, it was during the Congress rule that it was closed, but the state government was involved in its closure. The state government did nothing to keep it running. The Congress initiated the project, the BRS government was responsible for running it. Another example is the Kaddam project, which the Congress government had launched. In the recent floods, it overflowed. The BRS government should have maintained it.

The Congress will revive the Cement Corporation of India and provide jobs to the locals. We have also made six guarantees.

For women, we have free bus rides, monthly pensions, gas cylinders, etc. Many people are enjoying the benefits of Indiramma Illu. Did BJP, or BRS give a school, university, or house to the people of Adilabad? We will implement all the guarantees since Rahul Gandhi will become the prime minister.

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Q. Did you approach the Congress party or did it come to you? 

A. In 1995, I represented the Congress at the MPTC. I like the values that the party stands for.

We have Minister Seethakka, a leader with a Maoist background. She joined the Congress. The Congress stays among the people where as BRS did not give us freedom. We suffered due to the introduction of (GO) 317. We fought for the Telangana not to get such a GO. The employees in Adilabad were sent to Asifabad, and employees in Adilabad were sent to Mancherial.

Government teachers were forcefully pushed to another place against their wishes. Teachers committed suicide since salaries were not paid on time. Today, CM Revanth Reddy has promised to waive off farm loan. The people are not talking about other candidates because they know me and my work. I was born in a gully (lane) and I will go to Delhi. In a first, an Adivasi, a woman will enter Parliament from Adilabad.

Also Read: Congress following ‘divide and rule’: Telangana BJP chief Kishan Reddy

Q. Why should people choose you over other candidates? 

A. People should choose me because I am a woman from a lower-middle-class family who is chosen by Congress. I will be one among the poor. I don’t see this question coming from the people because I am well-known. The people’s thought is that she is part of the Congress and we will vote for her. I have promised a university in Adilabad. The BJP candidate, G Nagesh, who was with the BRS, got criminal cases charged against us when we fought for a university. The cases are still going on. How can an individual register cases against people fighting for the growth of the constituency? I will raise my voice for all the needs of each village, remaining underdeveloped for ages.

Q. There are many issues the Adivasis have been facing

A. The Podu land issue of Adivasis or Tribals has been ongoing for years. The Congress government has brought an Act and also, initiated a move to return the land to the communities. An Adivasi cannot survive without land. Komaram Bheem, the leader of tribals, fought for the land. We should protect the forest also.

(Edited by Majnu Babu).