HUZURNAGAR: Like most of his friends who are in the same age group, 72-year-old K Narayana Reddy is born and brought up in Huzurnagar. Every day, with weather and their health permitting, this group of elders gather under a tree to chat about anything and everything under the sun - be it their lives and the world around them.
But for these veterans, who had witnessed Congress and PDF dominate the polls in this Assembly constituency from the early 1960s, politics invariably is the main topic of their discussion. And thanks to their knowledge — of their constituency and the elections — these senior citizens are expected to have, and quite rightly so, an opinion about everything about the politics and the elections. Especially since this time around there is an intense competition in their constituency between Congress State unit chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who is hoping to seal a hat-trick of triumphs after having won the seat both in 2009 and 2014, a new entrant from TRS, Saidireddy Shanampudi and others.
Though Narayana Reddy is more open while speaking about various issues, he is a bit circumspect when one mentions the pressing issue of water resources and the Congress-led Grand Alliance promises.
He sees a threat to water resources it ‘Mahakutami wins’. “What if an MLA from TDP (a Grand Alliance partner) is made Minister of Irrigation? Won’t the water be diverted to the neighbouring State?” he queries. “That’s why we want a regional party (of Telangana) to win the elections. It doesn’t matter which regional party it is,” he says pointing to an unfinished drinking water pipeline to make his point and to convey that drinking water problem needs to be resolved.
Lack of drinking water is a major problem in most of the constituency’s seven mandals — Mellacheruvu, Mattampallly, Huzurnagar, Nereducherla, Garidepally, Palakeedu and Chintalapalem. The practise of buying water cans is not limited to densely populated Hyderabad. Even people living in the villages buy `20 water cans. Apart from this, open drainage system and lack of roads to villages, thandas were cited as factors causing extreme discomfort.
“Buying water can from Nereducherla and carrying it to my village Muthyalammakunta regularly is not the only issue. There are no roads to five thandas in our village. Now, if a pregnant woman or a person with joint pains has to be taken to the hospital, the journey becomes extremely painful to them. Our body wobbles while riding on crests and troughs in the path. No party is bothered about this for so many decades. Either we will unanimously not vote or we will chose a contestant to show proof that they will resolve the issue,” said 75-year-old Kathi Venkat Reddy. Y Mallesh, a 26-year-old auto driver, who was waiting for passengers, said they (auto drivers) prefer not to ride into villages and that path to his home is worse than others.
“Let alone driving to other villages. I don’t go back home for lunch after I start from there at 8 am as it is vexing to drive on those roads. And the path becomes treacherous during monsoons,” Mallesh says. People of the constituency want an alternative to open drainage system as this system attracts mosquitoes. Those from Nereducherla said that the drains are not cleaned regularly and they are forced to spend money out of their pockets to get the job done.
Autos with blaring loud-speakers, cadre from different parties hit roads from 9 am. While sipping tea, having breakfast, people from Huzurnagar have animated discussions about polls. They are keen to know if Uttam Kumar Reddy will score a hat-trick from Huzurnagar Assembly constituency, or it is TRS’ Shanampudi Saidireddy who will win.
While BJP candidate Bobba Bhagya Reddy, Parepally Shekar Rao of Communist Party of India are contesting, people see it more as a contest between TPCC chief and the TRS candidate, who returned to hometown from Canada.
Contestants and political parties who won elections
2014 N Uttam Kumar Reddy (Congress)
2009 N Uttam Kumar Reddy (Congress)
1972 K Jithendra Reddy (Independent)
1967 Akkiraju Vasudeva Rao (Congress)
1962 Akkiraju Vasudeva Rao (Congress)
1957 D Narsaiah (PDF)
No contestant won more than twice from the constituency