With the Ram Mandir issue back on the national political landscape, this Telangana temple down has become a poll plank for the state assembly elections with the ruling TRS being accused of neglecting development of what is known as ‘Ayodhya of South’ among devotees of Lord Rama.
About 32 kms away from this temple town, there is a place called ‘Parnasala’ where, as per the local legend, Lord Rama spent a part of his 14 years of exile and from where the demon king Ravana had abducted Sita.
“It is sad to see that this place does not even have a place to dump the household garbage. The garbage collected is being dumped at the bank of river Godavari,” said Adilakshmi who lives just behind the temple complex.
Echoing views, a local devotee Ramprasad said, “We are very much disappointed with the present regime.”
“The government has not yet released funds totalling Rs 100 crore for the development of the town. I feel the development work has not begun as the government does not want to demolish the Seer Chinna Jeeyar Swamy’s mutt,” he said while standing in a queque for ‘darshan’ at the Sri Sita Ramchandra swamy temple.
The TRS chief and caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is said to be a follower of ‘Chinna Jeeyar’, a Vedic pontiff and a preacher of Vaishnavism.
Locals and opposition party leaders allege that KCR has given up on this constituency even before the elections, as no TRS leader has visited Bhadrachalam, despite having campaigned in neighbouring constituencies.
Congress candidate Podem Veeraiah said, “There is no land because after the bifurcation of the state, the properties and land belonging to the temple went to Andhra Pradesh.”
At least four out of eight tehsils in Bhadrachalam, which has 1.35 voters, has gone to Andhra Pradesh and the TRS government had promised to get it back but nothing was done, he told to news agency PTI.
Senior TDP leader Komaram Phaneeswari, who had lost to CPI-M in the 2014 assembly polls with a narrow margin, said it’s a reserved constituency and has highest tribals living here in the state.
“The projects allocated for the development of tribals are being shifted from here due to lack of land. Building of Navodaya School, minority hospitals and even Integrated Tribal Development Authority have been shifted out from here,” she added.
Balakrishna, manager in a local hotel, said, “So much has been neglected that KCR did not take part in the ‘Ram Navami’ festival in last two years. It is a custom that the chief minister presides over the festival but he sent his grandson, hurting the sentiments of locals.”
Drawing parallel to the issue of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, he said, “KCR here had the opportunity to develop this place but has failed terribly”.
The candidates in fray for this assembly constituency include CPI-M’s Midiyam Babu Rao, BJP’s Kunja Satyavathi, TRS’ Tellam Venkata Rao and BSP’s Gundu Sarath Babu.