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Rice-rich but no major industry

By C. Narayana Rao


Assembly constituencies: 11

Lok Sabha seat: One

(Nellore, reserved).

Voters : 17,31,845

Men : 8,53,374

Women :8,78,471

* * *

NELLORE, ALSO known as `Vikrama Simhapuri', has got a long history that stretches back to the 6th Century A.D. Once ruled by the Pallavas and Chola dynasties, Golconda vassals, Nawabs of Arcot and the Vijayangara Kings, Nellore, which was once in the erstwhile Madras State, became part of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. The district is famous for its `Molagolukulu' rice, known for its quality and taste all over the country. However, it cannot boast of a single major industry, despite its proximity to Chennai. In recent times, it became a hub of educational activity, mainly coaching for EAMCET. The latest addition is prawn culture.

Nellore district can take credit for contributing two Chief Ministers, B. Gopala Reddy and N. Janardhana Reddy, a Speaker, R. Dasaratharami Reddy, besides the national president of Bharatiya Janata Party, M. Venkaiah Naidu. The noted playback singer, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, is also its illustrious son.

However, politically, it is only one or two communities virtually having sway over the district, with the remaining being silent spectators. Economically being weak, the rest of the communities have not been able to put a strong show and remain content to making poll-eve noises.

The dominance of the Congress party in the district was broken by the fledgling Telugu Desam party in 1983 when it grabbed 10 of 11 seats. History repeated itself in an identical manner in 1989 when the Congress blanked out the Telugu Desam. The ruling party had been keeping the lead again since 1994 when it won eight seats and seven in 1999 election. Some Assembly segments in the district also come under Tirupati and Ongole Lok Sabha constituencies.

The political scenario of the district has undergone a major change recently with the former Housing Minister, A. Prabhakara Reddy, switching sides to Congress. He is expected to take on the Information Minister, S. Chandramohan Reddy, his bitter political foe, in Sarvepalli. Political equilibrium has been restored to some extent with the Congress member in the dissolved Assembly from Atamkur, B. Krishnama Naidu, quitting the party and titling toward the ruling party.

While the Congress party has been successful in arranging sector wise meetings, aimed at attracting the youth, women, backward classes, the Telugu Desam has cut a sorry figure in this regard. The Congress party has been mainly banking upon the `anti-people' policies of the Government and taking advantage of suicides of farmers and handloom workers. The tie-up with the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has given a boost to the cadre here.

The Telugu Desam has been mainly banking upon populist policies of the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, besides a number of welfare measures including `Aadarana', `Sowkaryam', `Deepam' and so on. The latest claim relates to payment of compensation to displaced persons, mainly in Cuddapah district under the Somasila project. The TDP- BJP alliance is expected to benefit both parties.

Selection of candidates is going to be a ticklish issue for the Congress and TDP. In Nellore, the TDP may find it tough to find a match for Anam Vivekananda Reddy, the former MLA of the Congress party. In Atmakur, with the former MLA, Bollinnei Krishnama Naidu, resigning from Congress, a stalemate has arisen in Atmakur TDP circles, following reports that the TDP may admit Mr. Naidu into its fold. In such a case, the TDP aspirant, K. Lakshmmayya Naidu, may have to face uncertainty.

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