Malkajgiri: Malkajgiri wears lightly its tag of the country’s biggest parliamentary constituency. The area, that encompasses parts of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Medak district, has renowned temples, offices of famous IT companies and a cluster of slums. It is also home to 29 lakh voters.
On April 30, the area will vote for its next parliamentarian. Sarve Satyanarayana, a minister in the Union government, is confident he will be elected MP for a third straight term.
“For the last 10 years, I have been nurturing the constituency, looking after all the needs of the people,” he says.
As his convoy moves through a neighbourhood, residents of an unauthorised colony chase after it, urging the minister to come see where they live. He’s not in the mood.
You vote for me, and we will see,” he says to them from his open top vehicle.
Malkajgiri is placed at the heart of Telangana, which will be born as India’s 29th state on June 2, but an estimated 40 per cent of its residents are from Seemandhra, the regions that will form the edited Andhra Pradesh.
That’s why Seemandhra leaders like Jagan Mohan Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu believe their candidates have a fighting chance here, though the decades-long campaign for a Telangana state has fostered a strong sentiment against “outsiders” also dubbed ”settlers”.
From the Congress to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti candidate, everyone talks about offering security and protection to the Seemandhra population, in terms of life, property, education, job opportunities.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, who heads the YSR Congress, has picked as his candidate Dinesh Reddy, a man who was Andhra Pradesh’s most senior cop when his new boss was arrested in 2011 on corruption charges.
As Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1995 to 2004, Chandrababu Naidu was dubbed the CEO of Hyderabad, refurbishing the city famous for its biryani into a software capital that today hosts offices for Google and amazon.
His candidate is a political novice, Malla Reddy, who owns several engineering colleges in the area.
Mr Naidu runs an aggressive campaign, reminding voters that he brought them development and jobs, and vowing there is more to come, if his party is chosen.
“I have developed Hyderabad in such a way, no one can deny. Today there is so much insecurity and uncertainty, everything has come to a standstill,” says Mr Naidu, chief of the Telugu Desam Party or TDP.
The TRS is not known to have any hold on city segments like Malkajgiri.
K Chandrasekhar Rao, the man who fronted the campaign to have the region converted into a state, has exhorted voters to reject what he has dubbed as “Andhra parties.”
His targets are Chandrababu Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy.
His candidate is M Hanumantha Rao, who has just joined his party, the TRS.
Professor K Nageshwar is also in the running – a respected journalist and political commentator, his campaign lacks the high-wattage convoys and rallies paraded by his competition. But he says his experience as a MLC is a good selling point.
“I won that seat practising my kind of politics,” he says.
Former bureaucrat Jayaprakash Narayan of the Lok Satta party was elected to the state legislature in 2009 from Kukatpally, an assembly segment within the Malkajgiri parliamentary constituency.
“I have chosen Malkajgiri because rest of Andhra Pradesh is still not ready for new politics.
Whereas in Malkajgiri, 85 per cent are young people, educated, so they won’t be swayed by money power, liquor, partisanship of caste or religion,” he says.
Also in the ring is Dr Sudha Kiran, the grandson of former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, who is representing Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party or AAP.