Sircilla (Telangana) : Telangana Assembly elections have become a high-stakes battle this year with the Congress making every effort to wrest power from the ruling Bharata Rashtra Samiti in the November 30 polls. All eyes are the key constituencies like Sircilla from where CM KCR's son K T Rama Rao (KTR) is seeking re-election for the fifth time consecutively.
In this election, KTR is facing KK Mahender Reddy of Congress Party and Rani Rudrama of BJP ticket. Sircilla has got a Rs 1,000 crore textile industry, supporting over 18,000 families, who hold the key to the electoral destiny of candidates including KTR who is BRS Working President and a Minister.
KTR got elected from textile town Sircilla assembly constituency for the first time in 2009. But he resigned in 2010 for the cause of separate Telangana movement at that time and won again in the by-elections with a huge margin. He won the seat in the next two elections in 2014 and 2018. What magic can KTR weave to win yet again in the predominantly weavers' constituency?
In recent times, Sircilla's narrative has shifted from weavers' suicides due to paucity of work to a positive trajectory. Experts say that the state government's consistent support, including orders for free sarees disbursed during the Bathukamma festival, has been a significant factor in this turnaround.
Located on the banks of Maneru River, Sircilla, about 170 km from here, is popularly known as textile town due to the presence of a large number of power looms, textile processing and dyeing units. People from Sircilla used to migrate to other places due to lack of work or business. The situation changed after Telangana was formed and Rama Rao became an MLA from this constituency. Konduru Ravinder Rao, is in charge of the BRS campaign in the segment.
"Now we see reverse migration to this place. The weaver community has abundant work. Labourers from other states are coming from other states and working here. The entire credit goes to KT Rama Rao. He is a four-time MLA who has turned the fortunes around," Ravinder Rao told PTI. He further said efforts are on to provide livelihood to about 10,000 beedi workers of the area in the newly set up Apparel Park Sircilla.
Rama Rao alleged that the Congress rival Mahender Reddy comes to the constituency only when elections are announced. Nonetheless, Reddy, who narrowly lost by a margin of only 171 votes in the 2009 Assembly polls to Rama Rao, presents a contrasting account. According to him, Rama Rao failed in fulfilling promises such as bringing a railway line to Sircilla, and providing civic infrastructure.
"Rama Rao also promised that he would bring a degree college and playground to each mandal. He said he would set up a 30-bed hospital. He promised to transform Sircilla as a Dallas like city," Reddy said. Very few people were benefited with Bathukamma sarees order from the state government, he said, adding other allied industries such as cotton and dyeing are not doing well.
BJP candidate Rani Rudrama said she is confident of winning the polls. She hit out at her high-profile rival and said Rama Rao completely failed in providing proper civic infrastructure in the constituency. She accused him of not being present in the constituency even for 14 days, despite being an MLA for 14 years. She also claimed that a rampant "sand mafia" operates in Sircilla.
Rudrama promised that if voted to become a legislator she would ensure that all the central and state government schemes reach the grassroots. She said she will try to create a "powerloom cluster' in the constituency. (PTI)