Election season seems to have began early in Nalgonda district with candidates aspiring to contest the polls competing with each other in gifting Ganesh idols to woo voters.The leaders choose Vinayaka Chaturthi to catch the attention of public through contribution of Ganesh idols even as the organisers decorated pandals in ‘political colours’.
The state government is gearing up to conduct elections to grama panchayats followed by municipal elections. In the present political scenario, many local politicians believe that mid-term polls are not far away.
Thus, leaders from all parties started their efforts to maintain good rapport with the voters in their constituencies.
Nalgonda district has 59 mandals and 1,175 grama panchayats where thousands of Ganesh pandals are put up every year. It has been a tradition for sometime now, that local politician gifts the idol for these pandals. Similar situation prevails in most of the major towns like Nalgonda, Suryapeta, Miryalaguda and Bhongir. Ticket aspirants from various polelitical parties for MLA post in constituency headquarters, ZPTC aspirants in mandal headquarters, sarpanch post aspirants in villages have been donating these idols and providing monetary support for other activities like free meals and cultural programs at the pandals.
In Nalgonda assembly constituency alone, TDP aspirant Kancharla Bhupal Reddy donated nearly 200 idols and thousands of rupees for providing free meals. Last year, he donated 40 idols. It is said that he purchased idols in bulk order from Hyderabad and distributed them to pandal organisers notwithstanding their party affiliations.
Speaking to Express, Bhupal Reddy said that last year, he donated 40 idols. “I promised to them and supplied 200 Ganesh idols this year apart from some cash to arrange for prasadam and free meals for devotees at 50 pandals in Nalgonda constituency,” he said. He reportedly spent about Rs 10,000 to Rs 18,000 each for gifting these idols.
P Ravindar, Gandhinagar Vinayaka Utsava comittee organiser said that he approached Bhupal Reddy for idol three days back and in return had a beautiful idol installed at their colony. Another organiser V Nagaraju of Vivekanandanagar colony said that, “We collected donations from colony people for the festival but with Bhupal Reddy supplying the idol, we are now planning to use the money for organising other activities.”
Though most of the politicians were brushing off the gifting of idols as a philanthropic activity and pointing out that elections are far away, it can be for anybody’s guess about their real intentions. Interestingly, senior politicians like minister K Jana Reddy and former minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy were also gifting these idols without much pomp and show.