Telangana's chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao prefers to govern his new state from his 60-acre farmhouse in Medak district's Erravalli. Many in KCR's party - Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) - feel the existing secretariat is an everyday reminder of Andhra's dominance of Hyderabad.
But the farmhouse-CM office is under serious threat of being besieged by the 30000 villagers protesting the construction of the Mallana Sagar reservoir, a project very dear to KCR.
To ensure that the anti-Mallanna Sagar protests don’t disturb the serene stay of the chief minister at the farmhouse, the police have turned the place into a fortress.
The farmhouse is just 20 kilometres away from Ettigadda Kistapur, the epicentre of the agitation. The project, the CM claims, will irrigate one crore hectares.
The farmers and villagers are in engaged in a 'relay' fast, contending that the reservoir will submerge fertile lands that yield two, sometimes three harvests a year. This also happens to be part of the constituency the CM represents.
The CM's farmhouse and the towns and villages adjoining it have been fortified with so much security that they resemble a vast cantonment. There are about 2000 police officers stationed in the region (they guard the CM's farmhouse in three shifts) and all arterial roads under CCTV surveillance.
Since the protests began, the area has been a political hotbed. Politicians of every hue, activists, intellectuals and members of civil society groups are thronging the place.
This rainbow coalition has vowed to stall the project if the farmers are not compensated as per the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act.
The Erravalli farmhouse has already become the target of opposition attacks. The Congress, TDP and BJP have questioned the CM's absence from the secretariat for weeks.
KCR is extremely proud of the farm where he has engages in agricultural experiments.
In 2014, he took a large contingent of journalists on a guided tour of his farm where he claimed to generate an income of ₹10 crore-per-acre, growing exotic vegetables such as bell peppers in greenhouses.
More recently, he performed a ritual called the Ayutha Chandi Yagna on a scale so grand that it was attended by the state's Governor. Even President Pranab Mukherjee was slated to participate in the event, but a minor fire at the venue forced him to turn back.
Three days ago, a batch of twenty farmers from the Erravalli village tried to reach the farmhouse on motorcycles to meet the chief minister. However, the police, who observed their movement from afar, thwarted their attempt.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:38 PM IST