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Pullivendula: A dynasty's bastion faces a spirited challenge

Pullivendula is one of the most keenly watched elections in Andhra Pradesh. Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is contesting to retain this seat that his family has held continuously since 1978. 

News Arena Network - Amaravati - UPDATED: May 12, 2024, 07:16 AM - 5 mins read

Pullivendula: A dynasty's bastion faces a spirited challenge

Pullivendula: A dynasty's bastion faces a spirited challenge

Left to Right: Jagan Mohan Reddy, Dhruva Reddy and Mareddy Ravindranath Reddy.


News Arena India Editor-in-Chief Naveen S Garewal travelled to the constituency and reported that the Reddy family's hold over it remains uncompromised despite opposition parties trying their best to unseat the Chief Minister.

 

The dusty lanes of Pullivendula in Andhra Pradesh's Kadapa district bear witness to an intense electoral battle underway. This drought-prone constituency in the Rayalaseema region has been a family fortress for the Reddy clan for over four decades.

Yet, the upcoming polls have injected a spirit of defiance and hope among the challengers.

 

At the heart of this contest is Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, seeking re-election from his family's pocket borough. His primary rivals are the Indian National Congress's Dhruva Reddy and the Telugu Desam Party's Mareddy Ravindranath Reddy, popularly known as 'B.Tech Ravi'.

While the outcome seems predictable, the opposition candidates refuse to concede defeat.

 

"Miracles do happen, and people are fed up with the incumbent, who has done little for this parched constituency," proclaims Dhruva Reddy, his voice echoing the frustration of the locals yearning for solutions to water woes.

B.Tech Ravi, too, exudes confidence, asserting that a "free and fair poll" could upend the status quo.

 

The recent beautification of the Pullivendula-Kadapa main road stands as a visible testament to the government's efforts.

However, the locals argue that cosmetic changes alone cannot satisfy their thirst for development.

"We need drip irrigation and drinking water urgently," they lament, as water tables have plummeted to alarming depths.

 

Interestingly, Pullivendula has been electing members of the Reddy family for a staggering 46 years.

Jagan's father, the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, first won this seat in 1978 on a Congress ticket.

Since then, the Reddy family has secured 13 victories, including three by-polls, cementing their regional dominance.

 

Adding an intriguing twist to the narrative is Jagan's sister, Y.S. Sharmila, the Andhra Pradesh Congress President, contesting the Kadapa Parliamentary constituency.

Pullivendula assembly falls under the Kadapa parliamentary segment, and her presence in the fray from a rival party could dent some of Jagan's vote share.

However, his prospects of retaining the seat remain strong.

 

The Reddy family's political rifts are not new. After late Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy died in a tragic helicopter crash in 2009, his wife YS Vijayalakshmi, popularly known as Vijayamma contested the Pullivendula assembly as a Congress candidate and won unanimously. 

When Jagan parted ways with the Congress to form the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), Vijayamma faced her brother-in-law, Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, in another by-poll, emerging victorious with a massive mandate.

 

Now, the sibling duo of Jagan and Sharmila find themselves on opposing sides, each vying for the same political turf, albeit at different levels – one for the Assembly and the other for Parliament.

 

Pullivendula comprises seven mandals: Simhadripuram, Lingala, Thonduru, Pulivendula, Vemula, Vempalle, and Chakarayapeta.

It is located in the western part of Kadapa district in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.

 

In his campaigns, Jagan highlights the development initiatives undertaken during his tenure, presenting them as a continuation of his father's vision. 

He says the teaching medical college and hospital named after Rajasekhara Reddy is a testament to his family's commitment to the area and its people.

Jagan continues to campaign on the development issues, saying the development started by his father and continues.

To counter the TDP and Congress charge, Jagan's speech lists various developmental works, including irrigation projects completed in the last five years.

 

In contrast, Ravi dismisses these claims, asserting that "there is no real progress" beyond superficial embellishments.

He argues that cosmetic measures will only burden the municipality in the long run without generating sustainable income or addressing core issues like agriculture and employment.

 

He says the beautification of the Pullivendula–Kadapa main road, which started about six months ago, had to be stopped abruptly with the announcement of the Model Code of Conduct. People here want drip irrigation and drinking water as water levels have dripped to 1500 feet at places, but barring the distribution of some scheme benefits, nothing much has been done for the constituency in real terms.

 

People say the contest's outcome is easily predictable, but the spirits remain undaunted. It is, after all, an electoral battle, and those in the fray are putting up their best rather than getting demoralised and conceding defeat. The Pullivandula assembly constituency, therefore, remains one of the most watched assembly segments in Andhra Pradesh.

 

As the campaign trail intensifies, the battle for Pullivendula promises to be a gripping spectacle. A dynastic stronghold confronts the aspirations of those seeking change. While widely anticipated, the outcome may hold surprises—a testament to the enduring spirit of democracy in this arid yet politically vibrant corner of Andhra Pradesh.

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