Lakshmi Narasimha Ikkurthi founded ‘Yazali Na Janmabhoomi’ in 2010 to promote agricultural progress in his village and a better life for residents.

Andhra techie who helped his village develop is now Jana Sena MLA candidateAll images: By arrangement
news Politics Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 14:35

Lakshmi Narasimha Ikkurthi typically finds himself occupied on the farms of Yazali village in the Bapatla constituency of Andhra Pradesh. But now, the activist who spent years working for the development of his village, is reaching out to potential voters as he stands for MLA with the Jana Sena Party in the upcoming Assembly election.

Narasimha is the founder of ‘Yazali Na Janmabhoomi,’ ('Yazali - My Motherland'), which he started in 2010 after quitting his lucrative software engineer job in Hyderabad. Disappointed by the agricultural distress and alcoholism in his own village, he has helped farmers and agricultural labourers aim for a better Yazali over the last decade. His work has also included organising frequent medical camps, food and healthcare for the elderly, and an integrated approach to agriculture which has increased profits for farmers.

Awarded the Rural Achiever Award 2018 by Prime Minister Modi, Narasimha believes that he can use the potential political platform to spread his mission to push for a better village life, without exploitation and vulnerability endured by its residents. He wants villages to know and believe that change is possible.

"I never wanted to enter into politics as I believed it was murky business. But recently, I made up my mind to enter into the battle after Pawan Kalyan garu asked me, 'Would you be with us for 25 years, let's work together. What we can do for the people? We will not be a burden to your aim but will help carry it forward with responsibility,’” explains Narasimha.

Jana Sena Party cadres and Pawan Kalyan fans who knew of Narasimha and his work proposed his name over another candidate for Bapatla MLA candidature. Bapatla, one of the smallest Assembly constituencies in the state with only 1.7 lakh voters, will see a three-way fight between TDP, YSRCP and Jana Sena in the coming elections.  

In discussing his plans if he succeeds in the Assembly elections, Narasimha boasts of his village’s progress. “Now in Yazali, farmers use low-budget agriculture drone sprayers and are equipped with advanced ideas in paddy reproduction. In education, the local school is setting records. We will continue and spread our activities throughout Bapatla to see a better constituency.”

Narasimha is also seeking suggestions on social media as part of his list of assurances for voters. "In two days, we will release a local manifesto which will seek to solve local issues comprehensively."

Though Narasimha is no stranger to interacting with farmers on agricultural practices, he is discovering that campaigning has its own set of burdens. “I think electioneering is tough. Lack of funds and manpower are also matters of concern.”

And while he has the support of his party, Narasimha said that he has his share detractors. In advising young political aspirants, he said, "There will be people who pull us back always. A few pressurised me to withdraw, but I won't. Every stone thrown at us should become our strength, we should fight back. There is nothing to fear.”

 

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