It is home to top actors, influential politicians, rich businessmen and important bureaucrats, who form the cream of the society but the fate of Khairatabad constituency is decided by residents of about 50 odd unorganised and shanty settlements.
Reorganised in 2009 after delimitation, the constituency’s 2.6 lakh voters live in wide disparity. While the polling stations in the elite and upper middle class localities of Jubilee Hills, Banjara Hills and Somajiguda recorded a dismal voter turnout of 20 per cent to 30 per cent in the last elections, the polling stations in slums and bastis of Filmnagar, Chintal, B.S. Maktha and Khairatabad witnessed 60 per cent to 70 per cent voter turnout.
Sadly, in spite of being the game changers, these residents have to battle a number of issues on a day to day basis. “We have decided not to vote for anyone this time,” said P. Yadamma, a basti leader of Ambedkar Nagar in Road No. 13 in Banjara Hills. “Every other day, a kid falls into an open drain that flows into the Banjara lake and passes through our settlement. Innumerable requests to authorities and public representatives to construct a fence have fallen on deaf ears.”
P. Lakshmi is a resident of Deen Dayal Nagar, one of the 18 slums in Filmnagar. “The sewage system is very bad here and kids keep falling sick. The water supply is very erratic too and we face severe hardships,” she said.
There are 2.6 lakh electors in the constituency spread across six divisions. Sitting legislator and former Labour Minister Danam Nagender of Congress had trounced Vijaya Rama Rao of TDP in 2009. “TDP cadre is joining me, youngsters are supporting me and settlers will vote for me. I have taken up a number of development activities in the constituencies which improved drinking water facility and sewage issues. I am confident of winning because locals know I am always accessible to them,” he exuded confidence about his victory.
His strength is considered to be Khairatabad division as he got a majority in 27 polling booths out of the 28 in 2009 elections. Similarly, he is also known to have a strong hold over Somajiguda and Punjagutta divisions as the local corporators are also from Congress.
However, the going may not be easy for him as P. Vijaya Reddy of YSRC is trying to lay siege on the constituency with the help of the goodwill and legacy of her father and popular Congress leader, late P. Janardhan Reddy.
“I am here to continue the good work of my father and people too are wishing the same. From the past one year, I have taken up a number of local issues like land registration of slums, water problems and even sewage. At the top of my agenda is the construction of a Mahila Bhavan in every division.” Vijaya Reddy is learnt to have made significant inroads in to the Banjara Hills division and Filmnagar areas in terms of voter base.
Chinthala Ramachandra Reddy of BJP is another serious contender banking on the TDP-BJP alliance. “In the last elections, the total votes polled by BJP and TDP was more than that of the Congress party. Along with the alliance, there is also a Narendra Modi wave to help me achieve victory. There is so much opposition to Danam that he is not in a position to show his face to the people.” Mr. Reddy may have a big advantage if the upper middle class and the elite come to vote in large numbers.