Battle lines drawn in Pedana Assembly constituency

With Kapu, Gowda communities occupy major chunk of electorate in the segment, YSRC and TDP leaving
Comprising four mandals, including Gudur, Pedana, Bantumilli and Kruthivennu, Pedana Assembly segment has nearly one-third of the electorate.
Comprising four mandals, including Gudur, Pedana, Bantumilli and Kruthivennu, Pedana Assembly segment has nearly one-third of the electorate.

VIJAYAWADA : The ruling YSRC and Opposition TDP have intensified their efforts to attract the electorate in the Pedana Assembly constituency. Contesting under the YSRC banner from the Assembly seat, Uppala Ramesh, popularly known as Ramu, has locked horns with TDP candidate Kagitha Krishnaprasad. It is interesting to know that both the candidates hail from the same Gowda community.

Comprising four mandals, including Gudur, Pedana, Bantumilli and Kruthivennu, Pedana Assembly segment has nearly one-third of the electorate belonging to Kapu community, who are detrimental in deciding the outcome of the election. Besides 35,000 voters belonging to Gowda community, the major chunk of the electorate with 50,000 of voters belong to Telaga and Shetty Balija communities in the constituency.

While YSRC candidate Uppala Ramesh is completely relying on welfare schemes fulfilled by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to garner people’s support, TDP candidate Kagitha Krishna Prasad, son of former minister Kagita Venkatarao, is gearing up to emerge victorious in the coming elections. Remember, Krishna Prasad has won the 2014 elections and lost to YSRC candidate Jogi Ramesh in the 2019 elections. As Jogi Ramesh was swapped to contest Penamaluru constituency, the YSRC top brass fielded Uppala Ramesh to contest Pedana segment.

Pedana is known to the nation for its handlooms, especially the renowned Kalamkari products. The weavers from the region are claiming that the absence of effective handloom reservation on 11 products and inadequate Hankey Yarn supply from power looms has been causing a financial strain on handloom cooperative societies. Speaking to TNIE, Yarra Nagaraju, a weaver, said that rising colour rates and the removal of government incentives have further weakened the handloom industry.

Kalamkari artist-cum-product producer Balla Prasad highlighted the lack of welfare schemes for the industry, which supports over 20,000 people in the constituency. “Artisans lack essential health insurance cards and are facing market challenges, discouraging new entrants. Despite frequent proposals to the government, cooperative societies haven’t been established for decades,” he explained and urged the government to allocate an area in the Krishna basin or implement a separate pipeline for Pedana Kalamkari artisans.

On the other hand, the irrigation and drainage system in Pedana constituency is in disarray. Despite plans to modernise major and minor drains, crop canals, and other infrastructure dating back to the 2000s, no progress has been made. The area’s clay soil requires regular tilling for agriculture, but this has been allegedly neglected for years.

BK Sarojini, from SV Palli in Pedana Mandal, highlighted the severe drinking water issue in the constituency. “Saltwater intrusion due to the conversion of fish and shrimp ponds has raised the issue. Residents are forced to spend significant amounts to purchase drinking water,” Sarojini added and emphasised the need for a permanent solution to address drinking water crisis in the area.

TDP MLA candidate Kagitha Krishna Prasad expressed his confidence in an anti-incumbency wave working in his favour. He stated that he has garnered support from all communities in the constituency, as well as from alliance parties Jana Sena and BJP.

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