During the local body elections in 2021, 90% of the Village Sarpanches were elected from the YSRCP when the AP Government conducted them. Their expectations soared when YS Jagan announced that the Government included all Village Secretariats within the jurisdiction of Village Panchayats.
Those elected from the YSRCP expected to receive additional funds in addition to the 14th Finance Commission. However, the scene reversed as the YSRCP government utilized both the 14th and 15th Finance Commission allocated funds for other purposes.
Anticipating more funds from the government, some party workers (elected sarpanches) disbursed their own money for development works in the villages. Since it is our government, they undertook the work at their own expense, believing that payments would be made. This left them bankrupt, and they took to the streets to protest against their own government. Tragically, some even resorted to suicide.
To what extent can political influence be demonstrated?
Village sarpanches began showing non-cooperation to the YSRCP government since the Graduate MLC elections in March 2023. The TDP secured all three MLC segments in East Rayalaseema, West Rayalaseema, and Uttarandhra regions, delivering a significant shock to the ruling party after the 2019 elections.
Leaders like Sajjala and Peddi Reddi downplayed the defeat in their own style. Reportedly, YSRCP-elected Village Presidents did not support YSRCP candidates in the MLC voting in all three regions.
Despite this, YSRCP still believes the party is strong in rural areas in the state. If Village Sarpanches continue to oppose the YSRCP government, it might be very challenging for the YSRCP to sustain itself in the upcoming General Elections. This is what the discussion is going on among YSRCP MLAs.