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YSR’s pocket borough

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M.V. Subramanyam

A hotbed of factionalism for decades, Pulivendula has undergone a dramatic transformation because of the development projects launched in the last five years.

Chief Minister Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), who was first elected to the State Assembly from here in 1978, has developed his ‘janmabhoomi’ by pumping in funds and creating a solid infrastructure, making the constituency its neighbours’ envy.

YSR’s hometown has been a Congress bastion since its formation in 1955 with the party winning the seat in every election, barring 1962 when it was won by an Independent. Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy, who has been elected from here five times, held Pulivendula even during the Telugu Desam wave in 1983.

“It took 30 years for the TDP to open a party office in Lingala mandal,” says the TDP’s Kadapa Lok Sabha contestant Palem Srikanth Reddy, indicating the tremendous sway that Mr. Rajasekhara Reddy has over the constituency.

Bordering Kadiri in Anantapur district, Pulivendula derived its name from being ‘a haunt or abode of tigers;’ this could be the reason for YSR being referred to as ‘Pulivendula Pulibidda.’

YSR’s brother Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy has won the seat twice and his uncle S. Purushotham Reddy, an ophthalmologist, once. From being a medical doctor who treated patients free of cost, Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy established his supremacy in Pulivendula over the last three decades.

The drought prone Pulivendula segment has seen augmentation of irrigation facilities, setting up of a uranium plant at Thummalapalle, the establishment of the Yogi Vemana University’s western campus and many other institutions.

Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy gave away about 360 acres of land in the YSR estate at Idupulapaya to estate workers. The narrow and dusty lanes of the town have given way to broad roads with an underground drainage system, picturesque parks and other amenities.

This constituency holds the key to the Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency, from where YSR’s son, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, a budding industrialist who forayed into the newspaper field last year, is making his political debut.

YSR is pitted against TDP nominee S.V. Satish Kumar Reddy who has lost to him twice. Praja Rajyam candidate V. Chinna Gangi Reddy is a small-time contractor and a relatively new entrant to politics. He was an elected member of the Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) on behalf of the Telugu Desam Party until he joined the Praja Rajyam.

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