Though an integral part of Telangana region, the sentiment of a separate state always evoked less interest in this undivided district, thanks to the majority population who are essentially migrants from coastal Andhra Pradesh.
And that’s the reason why the TRS, despite riding on the Telangana wave, could win only one seat in the 2014 elections leaving the remaining nine to be captured by Congress (4), YSRCP (3), CPM (1) and TDP (1). This time, with the YSRCP opting out of the contest, the Congress-TDP combine hopes to sweep the district, which is now split into two, by winning more than eight of the total 10 seats.
The People’s Alliance headed by the Congress is pinning on the migrants — who constitute the majority of the population in the district due to its geographical proximity with coastal Andhra Pradesh — to overwhelmingly vote for it so as to grab maximum seats from here.
The battle in Khammam district is also prestigious for both the Congress and the TDP as they have fielded their senior leaders in the district. While Congress has fielded its working president Mallu Battivikramarka from Madhira, the TDP has put all its eggs in the basket of its former MP and influential businessman Namma Nageshwara Rao in Khammam.
And the ruling TRS, which won Kothagudem seat in the last elections, is also hoping to make inroads in the district and the party nominees are giving a tough fight to the candidates of the People’s Alliance in at least three constituencies — Bhadrachalam and Paleru apart from Kothagudem — which is currently held by it.
The TRS, apart from banking on its schemes, is also hoping that the supporters of YSRCP chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy will side with the party.
Though the TDP won only one seat last time, political observers feel the party’s cadre strength and popularity in Khammam would be put to a real test this elections. This elections, the TDP is contesting Sathupally and Aswaroapeta, which are close to Andhra Pradesh, apart from Khammam. To give a boost to the alliance’ prospects, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi campaigned in Khammam, while Naidu held rallies in Khammam and in Sathupally.
The alliance is also banking on the traditional communist votes — the Left wields considerable influence here — to romp home from the district. Also, one could witness the presence of palpable anger against Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in some pockets for “ignoring Khammam.”
“I am a traditional CPI voter and I will vote for TDP this time not just because of the alliance, but because I don’t want to vote for KCR. He has done nothing for the district after coming into power,” G Ramaiah told DH.
Even in villages, the People’s Alliance seem to have some solid supporters though they have been benefitted from KCR’s welfare schemes. “Last elections we voted for him, but he has not fulfilled the promise of providing two-bedroom houses. I have decided to move towards the Congress this time,” said, G Suresh, a resident of Turubaga village near the temple town of Bhadrachalam.
However, P Pushparaj, a small-time farmer, says he would vote for KCR since he has launched schemes that benefit farmers. “My vote is certainly for the TRS only because of its schemes aimed at boosting agriculture and farmers,” he said.