The paddy ready for harvesting at Maheshwaram village which is the key to the constituency currently represented by Sabitha Indra Reddy.
| Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti
Maheshwaram constituency gets its name from the ancient Shiva temple in the village that has a Pushkarani (stepped well). Far away from the temple, at the end of the village sits Bharatamma with her neighbours on a raised platform near the doorway of her house. “We are going to the meeting,” she says laughing as other women rush out of their homes so as not to miss the event. “We get water at home. We have a roof over our head. We don’t expect much from any politician; it (voting) is a duty we will perform,” she says. “If KCR’s party loses will the other party take this road and run? Will they eat up the road? No. What we have, nobody can take away,” she says looking at the RCC road liberally covered with cowdung spray splashed in the morning.
Every second house has a car or a two-wheeler in the village that lived by agriculture for generations. Now, HMDA survey numbers, phone numbers, realty traders are ubiquitous signs of progress for the village.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party is organising a meeting. We have a road show with Sabithamma,” says a Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader as he gestures to the women who spill out of homes and walk towards the open space behind the temple for a roadshow. In 2018, Sabitha Indra Reddy won the seat on an Indian National Congress ticket and then switched sides to become the Education minister. The noisy challengers are Sriramulu Yadav of BJP and K. Laxma Reddy of Indian National Congress.
The village has under 10,000 population, according to the 2011 Census. It doesn’t give an inkling of the breadth and importance of the Assembly constituency that has parts of southern Hyderabad within it. The Srisailam Highway runs through the constituency which has the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, a hardware park, an ancillary unit for aerospace industry, and a few other defence establishments. It also includes a village Mohabatnagar.
The Outer Ring Road passes at Tukkuguda and it has aided in the transformation of the constituency into a real estate goldmine. It is not apartments but villas and gated communities that are on offer. This real estate rush has led to complete change in the landscape. The once sylvan Srisailam Highway is now surrounded by crushed rocks, filled lakes and deep pits dug into the earth.
“This is a happy hunting ground for strongmen. Many lakes have been covered up. After the land at Kokapet this area has prime lands,” says Saleem Qadir who works for a real estate firm near Pahidishareef. True enough, large portions of the Umdasagar Lake abutting the road nea Vampy Colony have been filled up and plotted out.
“I have more Bharat Rashtra Samithi customers than Congress. Sabitha Indra Reddy won even when there was a wave of support for Telangana because of the goodwill she and her family has,” says Janardhan, who owns a shop that sells bamboo and wooden material used for decoration on the main road in Maheshwaram.
The landmark temple of Maheshwaram has a fortified structure in front of it. Attached to that is the ZPHS School. Inside, the children sit outside on the platform in the sun overseen by the in-charge headmaster Chandrasekhar Reddy. “Most of the teachers have gone for election training. That’s why we are conducting the classes in the open. We got funding under the ‘Mana Ooru Mana Badi’ scheme. The repair work is done, only the paint job remains,” says Mr. Reddy, looking at the building that appears decrepit.
Maheshwaram is part of the Rangareddy district and has a per capita income of ₹ 7.58 lakh which is one of the highest in the country which averages ₹1.26 lakh. Among the voters is going to be Sadiq, who is tasked with plastering the photograph of BRS candidate. “I have a vote here. I moved to this village four years back and I earn around ₹1,000 per day wage. In my village, I would get ₹300,” he says. Elsewhere in the constituency the number of people who have migrated from other places and are going to vote has also surged. It is these voters who will play a key role on November 30.
Information for Infographic
18-19 — 14,039
30-39 — 1,66,578
50-59 — 75,047
80+ — 7,019