From marigold flowers, brass matka 'gift' to the six-point development policy, tribals in Medak parliamentary constituency in Telangana fondly remember all they received from former prime minister Indira Gandhi who had won from here in 1980. Thirty nine years after her win, elders in this constituency recount Gandhi's election rallies with awe, while some believe 'Indiramma' is still "blessing people here from heaven". "Abhi bhi apna dil Indira ko. Khitna sona de, phir bhi dil aur vote Indira ko (Now also, my heart is for Indira. You may give gold, but my heart and vote is for Indira)," says 90-year old Rupla Pathloth, a Lambani tribal farmer from Fareedpur village, when asked about the current elections.
Pathloth, who owns two acres of farm land, received a brass water matka (pitcher) from Gandhi in the 1980 parliamentary elections when she defeated S Jaipal Reddy of the Janata Party with over two lakh votes.
"Each Lambani tanda had got 10 brass water matka. I too had received one and kept it safely," he said.
Recalling Gandhi's election speech, Pathloth said, "She had promised to give us better life and she delivered that promise. Maximum benefits were received during her time."
"She had said if voted to power she will give houses to the poor. She kept her promise and gave funds to build my house," said 65-year old Bugrot Ambriya from Mandapur in Jinnaram Mandal.
Bhuli Jambla, an 85 year-old Lambani tribal woman, hardly remembers what Gandhi had spoken during an election rally then. But she adds, "I admired her (Gandhi) . She gave life to our community. I remember, she threw marigold flowers from the stage, I had got one."
Recalling how his father benefited after nationalisation of banks during Indira Gandhi's rule, farmer Banoth Madhu said, "Tribals were not getting bank loans then and faced problems. When banks were nationalised, my father was able to get a loan amount of Rs 5,000."
The bank loans helped tribals to boost farming and provide better education to the children and avail jobs reserved under the six-point formula, he added.
Former prime minister had for the first time in Medak implemented the Six-Point agreement, under which reservation in class-IV government posts and gazetted and non-gazetted posts was given to local people.
The agreement with the leaders of Andhra Pradesh was reached by the then Congress government in order to quell 1973's violent Andhra movement for a separate state.
Many people in Medak also remember Gandhi visiting famous church 'Diocese of Medak of the Church of South India' in 1984. In the visitors' book she had written, "Prime Minister of India visited the cathedral and took blessings on July 19, 1984 at 2pm."
Amidst the nostalgia, the tribals also voice concerns over lack of development in the area.
Farmers are suffering due to lack of irrigation facilities, education institutions are inadequate and there is unemployment due to closure of Nizam Sugars factory, they said.
This constituency has its own identity in Indian politics as voters of Medak have given a prime minister, a chief minister of Telangana, a Union minister and a Speaker in the undivided Andhra Pradesh assembly.
Though the Congress has won this constituency nine times since 1957, it failed to win during the last 20 years. Though the BJP won it in 1999, it has been TRS all the way since 2004.
Former speaker Baga Reddy of the Congress, ex-union minister A Narendra, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Congress star compaigner M Vijaysanthi, all have won from Medak.
In the Lok Sabha elections to be held on April 11 in Telangana, TRS sitting MP Kotha Prabhakar Reddy is re-contesting from the seat, while Congress has declared Gali Anil Kumar as its candidate and the BJP has fielded Raghunanadan Rao.