Aimed at highlighting the plight of Adivasis. The two mandals, falling under the Polavaram submergence zone, have an electoral strength of more than 32,000 voters together.

After jumping into the electoral fray from Khammam Lok Sabha constituency on the “anti-Polavaram” plank, as many as 14 independent candidates of the 27 contestants in the fray are bracing to spearhead a spirited poll campaign to make the voice of Adivasis heard.

The electoral battle, involving a host of heavyweights of major political parties, has assumed a new dimension.

The town-based Sparsha Samajika Adhyayana Vedika and the CPI ML-New Democracy (Chandranna Group) had earlier given a call to file nominations en-masse for the Khammam Lok Sabha seat to highlight the plight of the Adivasis of Polavaram submergence zone in the district.

Kukunoor and Velerupadu mandals in the ST reserved Aswaraopet Assembly segment, which is part of the Khammam Lok Sabha constituency, have been reportedly earmarked for transfer to the successor State of Andhra Pradesh in the aftermath of the bifurcation of the State.

The two mandals, falling under the Polavaram submergence zone, have an electoral strength of more than 32,000 voters together.

The Mumpu Pranthala Parirakshana Samithi, a mandal-level forum consisting of “all-parties”, boycotted the recent ZPTC and MPTC elections in both Velerupadu and Kukunoor, demanding the continuation of the mandals in Khammam district, an integral part of Telangana. As a result, the panchayat raj elections could not be held in the two mandals.

The Centre’s reported move to merge the Polavaram submergence areas of the district with East Godavari district of Seemandhra sparked widespread protests by various Adivasi organisations in both Palvancha and Bhadrachalam divisions in the recent past.

“We have entered the poll fray to sensitise all sections on the plight of the Adivasis, who are facing the threat of large-scale displacement on account of the Polavaram project,” says K. Bhaskar, an independent candidate from Khammam Lok Sabha seat and the convener of the Sparsha Vedika.

“We have drawn up a plan to conduct a vigorous electioneering campaign from April 15 in the entire constituency to muster support for our anti-Polavaram campaign. Our endeavour is to bring the Polavaram issue into sharp focus at the national level, mobilise public opinion against it and save Adivasis from the impending peril,” Mr. Bhaskar asserts.