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In the Name of the Father: Araku Tribals Favour Jagan for YSR's Welfare Schemes

The Araku constituency is the lone scheduled tribe (ST) reserved segment of the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh that will go for polling on Thursday.

PTI

Updated:April 23, 2019, 6:50 PM IST
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In the Name of the Father: Araku Tribals Favour Jagan for YSR's Welfare Schemes
(File photo of Jagan Mohan Reddy/Reuters)

Araku (AP): He died in a helicopter crash a decade ago, but former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy still lives on in the heart of the state's Araku tribals with many remembering him for his welfare schemes.

It is primarily because of the schemes floated by the former chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh that the Borra tribals of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district want to give his son Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, known to all as JMR, a chance at the helm of the state's affairs.

Mostly dependent on agriculture, the tribals in Araku Valley, considered the 'Ooty of Andhra', make their living cultivating paddy, pulses and vegetables that are sold at a low price in adjoining areas.

Known for its picturesque natural beauty, the valley that falls under the Araku Lok Sabha constituency is also a Maoist-influenced region which has seen murder of several local leaders.

The Araku constituency is the lone scheduled tribe (ST) reserved segment of the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh that will go for polling on Thursday.

While there is no resentment against Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party and his vision of taking the state to the next level of growth, a large number of tribals want to change the government and give a chance to emerging young leader JMR, notwithstanding the criminal cases against him.

"His father introduced many welfare schemes for us and we are beneficiaries of those schemes. If we vote Jagan to power, we hope he will work with the same vigour and passion for the welfare of our community," said Darmayya, a tribal tourist guide at the Borra Cave, which was discovered in 1807 by William King George of the Geological Survey of India.

Borra Cave is located in Ananthagiri hills in Araku Valley, famed for 'Araku coffee'.

Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, introduced a range of unique welfare schemes, including a free ambulance service for pregnant woman, free power and supply of rice at Rs 2 per kg.

"The 108 scheme was first introduced by him to carry pregnant women and accident victims to the hospitals at free of cost," 45-year-old Kanni Pothi, a mother of five, told PTI, while sharing her experience of using the '108' service a few years back.

Later, the same scheme was improved and the ruling TDP government introduced a 'bike ambulance', a two-wheeler ambulance with a stretcher bed box carrying the patient, for remote villages in the state, said Pothi, who lives in Borra village.

Pinapacha, a tribal farmer from Dabuguda village, shared similar views.

"It was Jagan's father who introduced 100 per cent fee reimbursement to students belonging to scheduled tribes (STs) for the first time."

Two women candidates are making their political debut against veteran leader V Kishore Chandra Deo, who has quit Congress and is contesting from a TDP ticket, in the constituency.

The contest is going to be interesting as Deo's daughter and advocate V Shruti Devi is in the fray from the Congress side, while the JMR's YSRCP has fielded former CPI Chintapalli MLA Goddeti Demudu's daugther Goddeti Madhavi.

The constituency has 12.67 lakh tribal voters.

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