Andhra Pradesh

Guntur gearing up for polls on March 10

The lack of an elected council has stalled infrastructural development in Guntur.   | Photo Credit: T. VIJAYA KUMAR

The stage is set for an intense political battle in the historic city of Guntur which is all set to witness local body polls after nearly 15 years.

While the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) is calling the shots in the run-up to the elections, the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is also hoping to pull off a victory as it has a reasonably strong base in the region.

The 2019 elections saw the YSRCP taste defeat both in the Guntur Lok Sabha constituency as well as the Guntur West Assembly constituency. While the YSRCP’s Modugula Venugopala Reddy lost to Galla Jayadev of the TDP in the Lok Sabha election, Ch. Yesuratnam lost narrowly to Maddali Giridhar Rao of the TDP.

While Mr. Giridhar later quit the TDP and is now supporting the YSRCP, the twin defeats would be weighing heavily on the minds of the YSRCP leaders.

The ruling party seems to be better equipped in Guntur East and Prathipadu segments where the local MLAs have won twice.

Guntur Municipal Corporation has 57 divisions, including the merged villages of Gorantla, Budampadu and Perecharla.

Though the skyline of the town has changed a lot, the absence of an elected body meant that the town was lagging in infrastructural development. Most city roads remain narrow, but inner ring roads have been laid easing the flow of traffic towards national highways. Traffic snarls continue to be commonplace and there is a glaring lack of coordination between the GMC and the police department.

Hopes of change post the 2019 elections were dashed due to lack of political will among the Ministers and the MLAs. The lone Minister from the district, Home Minister M. Sucharita, is viewed by many as being non-committal in pursuing development projects in the city.

This is in contrast to 2010, when two powerful leaders Kanna Lakshminarayana and Rayapati Sambasiva Rao vied with each other to spearhead the development of the town, say locals.

The GMC has been bereft of an elected council since 2010, with the last council headed by Mayor Rayapati Mohana Sai Krishna of the Congress.

Among the major projects bagged by the GMC include a World Bank-funded comprehensive water scheme, a Centrally-funded Under Ground Drainage (UGD) project. The UGD project, which was accorded financial sanction in 2015, remains in limbo even after five years. The contractor, Shapoorji Pallonji, left in 2019 and since then the works have been stopped. The GMC had started to restore the roads.

The YSRCP, fresh from its victory in the gram panchayat elections, seems to have an advantage. Kavati Manohar Naidu, former Congress floor leader, is in the race for Mayor and Padarthi Ramesh Gandhi is also vying for the post.

The TDP, on the other hand, is pitching Kovelamudi Ravindra Babu alias Nani, as its Mayoral candidate and both parties have intensified campaigning.

The elections are due to take place on March 10 and the results would be known on March 14.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:26:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/guntur-gearing-up-for-polls-on-march-10/article33927020.ece

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