Ground Report| Nirmal: In communally sensitive constituency, BRS faces tough challenge from Congress, BJP

The three political leaders have been chief contenders for the MLA post since the 2009 elections

By S. Harpal Singh  Published on  20 Nov 2023 3:39 AM GMT
Ground Report| Nirmal: In communally sensitive constituency, BRS faces tough challenge from Congress, BJP

Adilabad: Nirmal Assembly constituency is well known in the state for the plethora of ruins of its historic forts and the resurgent toy industry. It is, however, better known for the influence of the Reddy community over the elections and the polity that shapes up the place.

In the current elections, the ruling BRS and the BJP have nominated Reddy candidates, while the Congress has nominated a non-Reddy. The BRS nominee, incumbent MLA Forest Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy, a 4 time MLA, is facing a tough challenge from arch-rivals A. Maheshwar Reddy of BJP and K. Srihari Rao of the Congress.

The three political leaders have been chief contenders for the MLA post since the 2009 elections. In 2009, Indrakaran Reddy contesting on a Congress ticket was defeated by Maheshwar Redy contesting on a Raja Rajyam Party ticket, while Srihari Rao who was a TRS nominee stood third.

The 2014 elections were held in unified Andhra Pradesh. Indrakaran Reddy won the election on a BSP ticket against Srihari Rao of TRS. A Maheshwar Reddy who fought as a Congress candidate ended up third. In 2018, Srihari Rao did not contest the election which was won by Indrakaran Reddy on a TRS ticket defeating Maheshwar Reddy of Congress.

Reddy Domination

In the 14 elections to the Nirmal Assembly constituency since its advent in 1957, candidates from the Reddy community have been returned in as many as 11 instances. The only non-Reddy leader to have broken the trend was S. Venugoplachary of Telugu Desam Party, currently in the ruling BRS party, who won the 1985, 1989, and 1994 elections.

The Congress party has won in 6 elections, independence twice, Once each the INC (I) or Indira Congress, the Praja Rajyam Party of film start Chiranjeevi, BSP and TRS. Indrakaran Reddy who had the 2014 election on a BSP ticket joined the TRS later.

Nirmal has a total of 2,46,302 electors of whom 1,17,563 are males and 1,29,914 are females. The voter strength in the 1957 elections was 56,973 which saw an independent Mutyam Reddy winning it.

The constituency is perceived to be communally sensitive but so far no major violent incident has taken place. The estimated 45,000 Muslim voters are assumed to usually play an important role in determining the future of a candidate.

While Muslims are known to vote as a block they may seem to be divided on their choice of candidates in this instance. While the AIMIM is supporting the ruling BRS, other Muslim outfits seem to be tilting towards the Congress.

Nirmal district is among the better-developed places in Telangana as is evident from the basic infrastructure development over the last few years. It has, however, been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Waterlogging during monsoon

"Come monsoon we start shuddering at the prospect of living in water," observed Neredu Lakshman of GNR colony in the headquarters town which is among the localities that have witnessed water logging in the rainy season. Locals accuse the ruling party and by extension the Forest Minister of ignoring the development of drainage.

The main reason for water logging in localities in Nirmal town is the encroachment of water bodies. Encroachment, nonetheless is not limited to water bodies as rival candidates of Indrakaran Reddy point out during their election campaigns.

Nirmal Municipality master plan

The master plan readied for the development of Nirmal municipality has become a major irritant for the ruling party. There were several protests by locals and Maheshwar Reddy for its scrapping as it envisaged the acquisition of precious farmlands on the outskirts of the town.

Though the plan is said to have been kept in abeyance as a result of the protests, locals do not believe it. So, TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy made it a point to announce during his campaign meeting in Nirmal town that the master plan will be scrapped as soon as Congress comes to power.

NEW integrated collectorate building

The ruling BRS also faces flak for locating the new integrated collectorate building far away from town but close to Yellapalli village to which the Forest Minister belongs. Voters who find it a tedious ride to the collectorate accuse him of manipulating so that the land prices in his village go up.

2BHK houses

A section of voters also accuses the ruling party of discrimination while allowing the 2 BHK houses which are also located close to Yellapalli village. "He has given away the houses to his followers," accused A. Muthyam Reddy, a Congress supporter.

Nirmal toy industry

Though it is a small world of the Naqash community in the constituency, the issue faced by it needs urgent attention. The 400-family-strong Naqash community, the number of voters estimated in the community to be over 1,500, makes the famous toys from the poniki softwood.

"The government has done enough to resuscitate our art but it will die away in a decade if attention is not paid to the dogging problem," predicted B.R.Shankar, the manager of the Nirmal Toys and Arts Industries Co-Op Society which runs an exclusive showroom in town. "No youngster is taking up the traditional toy-making art as livelihood," he pointed out the biggest problem facing the community.

The Naqash elder wanted political parties to pay attention and bring in some formula by which the traditional toy making is made sufficiently lucrative as livelihood so that the youth do not shy away. "The youngsters should get educated as well as make toys," Shankar added.

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