Saikam is a well-known family among fishermen community in the island villages, located between the river Krishna and the Bay of Bengal, in Nagayalanka mandal. Irrespective of gender, the family is contesting in three gram panchayats giving jitters to their opponents. The third and last phase of panchayat elections will be held on July 31, in the three island villages – Yedurumondi, Nachugunta and Elichetla Dibba -- which have been categorised as inaccessible villages, under Avanigadda police sub-division.

“We go for fishing at the dawn and return at the dusk. Our children are facing problems due to poor infrastructure and we are educating them in the hostels located at far-off places. Government is neglecting the border island villages and we have decided to fight through ballot to improve our hamlets,” say the fishermen families in unison. In Elichetla Dibba hamlet, Saikam Baby Malleswari is in the fray for sarpanch as an independent candidate, while her opponent Chennu Aruna is backed by YSR Congress.

Former village sarpanch, Kokkiligadda Durgamma is extending support to Ms. Malleswari.

“Though the population in our village is about 1,200 in eight wards, our village has no proper connectivity from Nagayalanka, no roads, Primary Health Centre (PHC), Cyclone Rehabilitation Centre, or high school and we are facing severe drinking problem,” Ms. Malleswari, who was busy in campaign, told The Hindu on Monday.

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