“How do you feel if your land is taken by someone under false pretenses?” said T Janardhan, a farmer in Kistayapalem village in Mangalagiri Assembly constituency when asked about his preference in the upcoming elections on May 13, 2024.

He is not alone in feeling ‘betrayed’ by the YSR Congress party‘s (YSRCP) government led by its president and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

There are nearly 29,000 farmers who gave their land to the construction of the greenfield capital city Amaravati proposed by Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) government during 2014-19.

After Jagan Reddy announced shift of executive capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam when YSRCP voted to power in 2019, these farmers were at the receiving end as the terms of original land polling agreement were altered by the State government.

Stalled capital city project at Amaravati(the ‘Ghost’city)

Stalled capital city project at Amaravati(the ‘Ghost’city)

“We have not been paid the tenancy for the last two terms by the State government. Each farmer has to get at least over ₹1 lakh from the government now. Infrastructure has not been developed for the portion of the land we are supposed to get,” said G Bhanu Prakash, another farmer from the Amaravati region.

When asked on freebies doled out by Jagan Reddy in the form of Navaratna welfare schemes, Naga Bhushan Reddy, a weaver from Mangalagiri said: “There is no work for most of us. Freebies should supplement other development which is not happening.”

Out of 2,92,432 voters in the Mangalagiri constituency, 13 per cent are from the Padmasali (weavers) community most of whom, according to Reddy, became jobless in the last 5 years.


The beneficiary of this simmering discontent in this region against Jagan Reddy is Nara Lokesh, general secretary,TDP and son of N Chandrababu Naidu. Lokesh is contesting from the Mangalagiri constituency.

Lokesh, who contested and lost from the same constituency in 2019, has the advantage of continuing to work despite losing, according to locals.

“He has been with people of Mangalagiri constantly and implemented many schemes from TDP including providing healthcare and skill training for women,” said Rajamma a tailor near Mangalagiri bus stand.

He is said to have provided 29 schemes for the constituency from his party funds since 2019.

There is also sympathy for Lokesh, who lost in the previous polls but continued to work here. He is benefitting from his opponent’s apparent weaknesses. Despite hailing from a local political family, Lokesh’s rival –YSRCP’s M Lavanya –is not a recognisable face for locals as she was named by Jagan Reddy after much confusion.

The door-to-door campaign by Nara Brahmani, wife of Lokesh has been attracting huge attention and is seen as an advantage for TDP.

Winning in Mangalagiri is important both for Lokesh as well as the TDP to vindicate their stance in support of capital at Amaravati. Lokesh, who has been a ‘prince’ of TDP in 2019 with no popular support, can lay his claim to be a politician backed by people transcending his image as just a political heir of Chandrababu Naidu.

Win in Mangalagiri will eventually cement Amaravati’s position as the capital of AP if TDP manages to win full mandate to form next government after elections.