Of the 11-lakh-odd city population, two lakh are migrants, who came to Vijayawada in search of livelihood

The two-lakh-odd settlers, who have made Vijayawada their home, will play a noteworthy role in deciding the fate of the politicians contesting for the three MLAs and one MP posts from the city in the coming general elections.

Spread over three constituencies, the importance of the settlers is as vital as the locals for they have a good chunk of votes and the political parties are leaving no stone unturned to impress them with their promises.

Of the 11-lakh-odd city population, about 7.5 lakh are eligible voters, of which two-lakh odd voters are from the East and South regions representing various communities.

Caste factor

According to reliable sources, people from Vysyas, Yadavs, Reddys and Kamma communities from the South (from Prakasam and Guntur districts) and Nagaralu, Thurrpu kapus, Vettirajus and Munirajus communities from Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts migrated to Vijayawada in search of livelihood. “All these migrants left their native land in search of prosperity owing to the backwardness of their region. Agriculture was not flourishing in those days owing to water scarcity. The hostile weather conditions and lack of job opportunities drove them out of their villages to Vijayawada, which was an emerging city then ,” says 62-year-old G. Phani, who keeps track of the city’s historical facts.

The early settlers were from Vysya community. The locals brought them in hundreds to work in their shops and godowns from Markapur, Vinukonda and Narasaraopet. “They used to look after the shops and sleep in godowns. The Vysya community from Amaravthi is now dominating the pharmacy and medical fields,” says Avala Maruti, a seasoned politician.

Nagaralus hold the key

Among the settlers, the Nagaralu community is the most dominating one for it thrives on finance business. They are in lending business and play a key role both in politics and trade. A good number of lodges in the city belong to Nagaralus. They also excelled in politics with leaders like Thammina Potharaju, Marupilla Chitti, Pothina Chinna and Pyla Somi Naidu hogging the limelight as Congress leaders, legislators and party chief. The migrated communities are eking out their livelihood as daily wage labourers, fruit hawkers, rickshaw pullers and small-shop owners and live on the hill-tops surrounding the city.

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