Hyderabad: The hustle and bustle of electioneering is at its peak in Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituency, which is spread across parts of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Political parties, especially the key contenders who really do matter in the election, adopted more persuasive strategies in reaching out to the typical apathetic urban electorate ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The focus is mainly on new age voters, the highly educated and the tech-savvy who form the most elite section with predominant presence in segments such as Secunderabad Cantonment, Kukatpally, Qutbullapur and Uppal.
What’s more challenging is approaching the highly hopeful voters of the urban slums that dot the outskirts of the State capital — such as Jawahar Nagar and Balajinagar. They assure their loyalties to leaderships, which are committed to addressing their civic needs.
This seems to be a major advantage for the TRS camp where the mood is upbeat ahead of the elections. TRS’ Malkajgiri nominee Marri Rajasekhar Reddy is an educationist (chairman of Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, Hyderabad) and a young leader from a political family with greater affinity with the constituency. Congress and BJP pitted A Revant Reddy and Ramachandra Rao, respectively, against him.
Marri Rajasekhar is going all out to make inroads into the constituency — his whistle-stop appearances in the townships, bastis and villages helped him build the much-needed rapport with community leaders and associations of residential colonies at the grassroots. He successfully listed out pressing issues that were to be addressed on a priority in every locality. He assured the minority communities of Dilkush Colony in Kukatpally Assembly segment of immediate steps to solve their civic issues and to provide roads.
Equipped with a list of colony-wise problems, the amounts already spent by the government on providing a permanent solution, Marri Rajasekhar is out to find a greater level of acceptance from the voters. TRS MLAs from their respective segments were playing a key role in making his campaign a success.
Marri Rajasekhar devotes half of his day, especially the evening, to the campaign being led by senior leaders such as TRS working president KT Rama Rao and his father-in-law and Minister Ch Malla Reddy. Malla Reddy won the Malkajgiri LS constituency in 2014 on a TDP ticket. With the TDP losing its relevance in Telangana after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, he joined TRS. The party cadre also joined TRS more or less en block, forcing TDP to opt out of contest in 2019.
The impact of TDP losing its support base reflected sufficiently in the Assembly elections last December. The constituency, formed in 2008 after the delimitation exercise, was held one term each by Congress (2009) and TDP (2014). This time it will inevitably be TRS, says Madhavaram Krishna Rao, TRS MLA from Kukatpally.
The minorities were firm on voting for TRS because of it secular stand on key issues. People who migrated to the twin cities from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat form a sizeable segment of the electorate. They are highly appreciative of TRS’ approach to development.
Rajasekhar Reddy had several rounds of meetings with the leaders of such communities and assured them of TRS support to meet community needs. His efforts are expected to pay rich dividends. He is way ahead in his campaign compared to A Revanth Reddy (Cong) and Ramachandra Rao (BJP).
Development of Jawahar Nagar is my priority
Marri Rajasekhar opens up about working for people in urban slums and the importance to connect with the new-age voter
Q: What is your agenda for the constituency?
Development is on the top of the agenda for me and my party. The outskirts of the city and the new colonies that sprung up over the years did not get due attention. Whatever development took place in the villages and townships that are part of the Malkajgiri LS constituency was because of the TRS government. My predecessor, Ch Malla Reddy, strove a lot to reach out to the unreached. I shouldered the responsibility to complete the task. I hope people will give me the opportunity.
Q:What is your understanding of the needs of Malkajgiri?
Being a local leader, I have a greater affinity with the electorate. I have an understanding of the needs of each locality in the constituency. The government also put in enough effort to give the people their due in terms of civic amenities. Long neglected colonies have a new look today. Further development of the constituency is my job.
Q: What is a major challenge in reaching out to the voter?
I have been working to make the urban voter to rise to the occasion. His/her participation in voting is important. The polling percentage should be as high as the Assembly elections in December 2018. I can connect to the new-age voters much better than any of my rivals.
Q: How do you plan to fulfill the needs of the city slums?
Housing is a major problem in the slums. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao shouldered the responsibility of providing free housing for the people living in slums. A massive housing programme is being implemented by the government. People in need of shelter are ready to wait for the completion of the 2BHK houses.
Q: What do you have to offer to the people of Jawahar Nagar slums?
Development of Jawahar Nagar will be my priority. People have their own houses, but they do not have houses, which can be considered as their own without valid pattas. I will help the local residents in getting jobs.
With the groundwater levels touching the ebb, the new MP should focus on steps to recharge the water table. Revival of Ramakrishnapuram Lake and Yapral tank, and development Kapra Lake should be the priority. Encroachments on water bodies were checked by the government, but again new encroachments have come up. The administration must act immediately
K Hanumanta Rao, resident of Neredmet
The govt should set up more schools and colleges for children of slum dwellers. It should have better playgrounds and play materials. Education in private institutions is unaffordable even for the middle class
Veena Reddy, housewife in Malkajgiri