All eyes on Pawan Kalyan and Pithapuram

May 09, 2024 13:09
All eyes on Pawan Kalyan and Pithapuram

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All eyes on Pawan Kalyan and Pithapuram:- Pithapuram (formerly Puruhutika Puram and Peetikapuram), situated in the heart of East Godavari district, is a significant pilgrimage site in Andhra Pradesh. The Kukkuteswara Swamy temple, the Puruhutika Devi temple, and the Sripada Srivallabha temple are popular destinations for devotees. Despite its religious importance, Pithapuram was not a significant political constituency. With less than 2.3 lakh voters, it paled in comparison to other prominent areas like Kuppam, Pulivendula, and Mangalagiri. However, this has changed with the upcoming 2024 election. Jana Sena Party leader Pawan Kalyan, who has a significant following, is running for office in Pithapuram. He lost in his previous attempts to win a seat, making this year's election crucial for him. Meanwhile, the ruling YSRC party is keen on stopping him from causing trouble in the legislative body. Unfortunately, the deciding factor in this election is caste, rather than development.

One of the areas where the Kapu community holds a strong influence is Pithapuram. Over 60% of the population belongs to this community, and in 16 elections, a Kapu leader has won 12 times. In 2014, SVSN Varma, who is from the Kshatriya community, won the election. The current election is a bit different as both YSRC and TDP-JSP-BJP alliance candidates are Kapus, which may lead to a split in the community's votes. This makes the votes of other communities equally important for victory. The YSRC has nominated sitting Kakinada MP Vanga Geetha from Pithapuram. Interestingly, Geetha won the same constituency in 2009 from Praja Rajyam Party, which was floated by Pawan Kalyan's brother Konidela Chiranjeevi. Although Pawan Kalyan is a popular film star who is contesting, the election is unlikely to be one-sided. According to S Satyanarayana, a rickshaw puller from Indira Nagar, Kapus are divided when it comes to political affiliation, which could favor Geetha. We have spoken to locals to gather their opinions on who has a good chance of winning.

The fishing community faces distinct challenges and is expected to support the alliance. Despite receiving Matsyakara Bharosa, the government has failed to provide compensation for deceased fishermen. This poses a problem as the government requires proof of death, but bodies are often lost at sea. A fisherman expressed frustration with this issue. People often discuss political issues, but some, particularly young people, are swayed by their favorite celebrities. Recently, JSP activists visited a fishing village in Uppada to campaign for their party. However, the villagers declared that they were already committed to voting for the "Glass Tumbler," their slang term for their preferred party. While this may not be enough to secure a win for the JSP, some voters remain loyal to the YSRC due to past government aid. For example, one rickshaw puller noted that his house was built with government aid during the YS Rajasekhara Reddy government. While the tripartite alliance promises more benefits and financial aid, some voters remain skeptical of such promises.

In 2019, the TDP made grand promises of offering more benefits to the people, but these promises were unfulfilled. The lack of a Road Over Bridge (ROB) over the railway track that passes through Pithapuram is a major concern for the locals. The railway line is busy, connecting Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, and when the railway gate is closed, vehicular traffic comes to a halt. However, sitting MP Geetha has taken the initiative to resolve this problem, and funds have been sanctioned for the flyover, with the land already acquired for it. If it weren't for the upcoming elections, the work on the flyover would have already started. Another factor that may influence Pawan Kalyan's victory is the support of former MLA Varma, who had previously revolted against the TDP leadership for allotting the seat to the JSP as part of an alliance. Although Varma is campaigning for Pawan Kalyan, it is still uncertain whether he is genuinely extending his support or not as it is unlikely for any leader to hand over their constituency to another.

Pawan Kalyan's decision to run from Pithapuram is a strategic advantage for the JSP. One of their supporters expressed determination to ensure Kalyan's victory after his previous election defeats. However, not everyone in Pithapuram has a strong political stance. Krishnaveni, who works at a library, is voting for Kalyan because her family is supporting him, without any consideration for his policies. Tummala Ramaswamy (Babu), JSP president of East Godavari district, believes that Kalyan will win due to the negative impact of the YSRC regime on different communities. Babu is confident that their joint manifesto will help NDA win at least five Assembly seats in Kakinada, East Godavari, and Konaseema districts.

(Article Credits: New Indian Express)

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Pawan Kalyan  Pithapuram  AP 2024 Elections