Polavaram, Resettlement and Rehabilitation package to influence Eluru LS poll outcome

Polavaram is one of the important issues on the poll agenda of all the political parties in the fray in Andhra Pradesh.
Representative image
Representative image

VIJAYAWADA: Polavaram Irrigation project, the Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) package for the project-displaced families, and Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation will be the main issues that will be on the minds of the electorate in the Eluru Lok Sabha constituency, when they exercise their franchise on May 13.

Formed in 1952, Eluru Parliamentary constituency was spread across the erstwhile Krishna and West Godavari districts before the reorganisation. Later, it was formed as a district with seven Assembly segments—Ungaturu, Denduluru, Eluru, Polavaram, Chintalapudi, Nuzvid and Kaikaluru.

Of the seven Assembly segments, Polavaram is reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) while Chintalapudi is reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC). Out of the seven Assembly constituencies, only three are urban local bodies.

With agriculture and horticulture as the mainstay of the economy, the Parliamentary constituency has people belonging to Kapu, Kamma, and Backward classes like Yadavs, SCs, and STs in considerable numbers. However, BC and OC voters have been dictating the outcome of the elections for the past several decades.

“Though there are several issues in this important Lok Sabha segment, three main issues—Polavaram Project, R&R settlement package, infrastructure, mainly road network—top the list. Every year floods in Godavari affect the infrastructure, particularly in Polavaram Assembly segments,” explained Satyanarayana, a businessman in Jangareddygudem.

Polavaram is one of the important issues on the poll agenda of all the political parties in the fray in Andhra Pradesh. Jana Sena, which is fielding its candidate C Balaraju from the Polavaram Assembly constituency, proposed a new cess, R&R Cess, to fund the R&R Package for the Project Displacement Families, which is estimated to require approximately Rs 30,000 crore.

TDP, an ally of JSP, is assuring early completion of the project and addressing the issues of the project displaced, while the YSRC party is largely silent on the issue, except for its assurance to complete the project at the earliest.

As western parts of Eluru are upland areas, farmers in the region have been demanding the completion of the Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation project. However, there has not been much progress. The project started by the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy hit a roadblock, though balancing reservoirs and canal network is in place.

The Parliament constituency was represented for the first time by CPI leaders Bayya Suryanarayana Murthy and Konduru Subba Rao.

In 1957, Congress candidate Mothey Veda Kumar became MP. However, CPI retained the seat in 1962, only to lose in 1967. Till 1984, Congress represented the constituency. It is worth noting that in 1989, film actor Krishna won the seat on the Congress ticket, but lost in the 1991 elections to a TDP candidate.

Though the Yellow Party won the 1996 elections, it lost in 1998 and retained the seat in 1999. In 2004 and 2009, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao of Congress won the seat. In 2014, TDP candidate Maganti Venkateswara Rao won the elections and in 2019, Kotagiri Sridhar of YSRC emerged victorious.

For the 2024 elections, TDP and YSRC decided to field BC candidates. TDP fielded Putta Mahesh Yadhav, son-in-law of former minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and YSRC fielded Karmuri Sunil Kumar Yadha, son of minister of civil supplies Karumuri Nageswara Rao. Interestingly both the candidates are not locals. Hence political observers think that it is political parties that matter rather than the candidates in the fray.

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