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In Amaravati’s Shadow, 'Kamma Castle' Vijayawada Builds Up Towards Exciting Poll Battle

While construction of Amaravati hogs the political discourse, residents of Vijayawada are left asking one question – what about us.

PV Ramana Kumar | News18

Updated:April 23, 2019, 7:32 PM IST
In Amaravati’s Shadow, 'Kamma Castle' Vijayawada Builds Up Towards Exciting Poll Battle
File photos of YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu.

Vijayawada: The construction and development of Amravati as Andhra Pradesh’s capital has hogged much of the political discourse ahead of Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state. While the ruling TDP says the BJP-led Centre didn’t provide the required funds, the YSR Congress counters that Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu “squandered” finances meant for the capital.

In the middle of this muddle, neighbouring Vijayawada, the business capital of Andhra Pradesh, is also demanding attention. Poor civic amenities and half-constructed flyovers have emerged as the main voter grievances. Residents are also peeved at Amaravati land being carved out Vijayawada.

“Why is a huge capital city needed? They took our land but have done nothing with it, while we lost previous livelihood,” says Daniel of Mahendra of Nandigama.

Some others, however, don’t seem to mind. “Our family gave three acres for the capital city. We got compensation as per government norms. We were worried about losing land, but are happy that we were able to contribute something towards the prestigious project. We hope Chandrababu Naidu returns to power and develops the capita more,” says Naveen Kumar who is employed with a private firm.

Battling for votes amid such polarised perception are sitting TDP MP Kesineni Srinivas Rao alias Kesineni Nani and industrialist Potluri Vara Prasad from the YSR Congress Party. Muthamsetti Sudhakar is contesting from Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena with the support of Communist parties.

The TDP and YSRCP candidates belong to the Kamma community which plays a key role in the constituency. Most MPs and MLAs who have been elected from Vijayawada belong to Kamma community.

“We developed the city even though the Union government didn’t support us. Flyovers are being constructed from central government funds. Amaravati, a world-class capital city, is being constructed as per the vision of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu,” said Kesineni Srinivas.

Countering him, YSR Congress candidate Potluri Vara Prasad said, “I have been associated with this place for a long time. The government has failed in all aspects. It’s our time now. We will win and Jagan Mohan Reddy will be the Chief Minister.”

Poll pundits, however, believe Vijayawada is anyone’s game. “We cannot predict (the outcome). The situation is changing every day. YSRCP and TDP candidates have neutralised the caste factor since both belong to the same community. But people believe TDP ‘Kamma’ is the ‘real Kamma’,” senior journalist Subrahmanyam to News 18.

Vijayawada is consists of seven assembly segments -- Vijayawada West, Vijayawada Central, Vijayawada East, Mylavaram, Nandigama, Jaggayyaper and Tiruvuru.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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