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Long journey of Revanth Cabinet’s tribal face Seethakka: Naxalite to lawyer to 3-term MLA | Political Pulse News

Along with the new Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, 11 ministers were sworn in at L B Stadium in Hyderabad Thursday, but the loudest cheer rose from the gathering when the name of Dansari Anasuya, popularly known as Seethakka, was called to take her oath of office.

The 52-year-old Naxalite turned politician Seethakka, who belongs to the tribal community, is a three-time legislator from the Mulugu (ST-reserved) constituency. She is likely to be allotted the portfolio of the Scheduled Tribes (ST) welfare ministry.

Seethakka joined the Janashakti Naxal group and took a gun in her hand when she was just 14. Born into a poor Gotti Koya tribal family, she decided to fight for the cause of the suppressed and deprived sections, she said, and felt “inspired” by the armed Naxal movement around her.

But by 1997, after spending 11 years underground and in the forests, Seethakka was disillusioned with the path of violence and decided to lay down arms to join the mainstream.

She then started pursuing education and secured a degree in law while working for an NGO for her livelihood. While practising as a lawyer in the Warangal district court, she found her calling in offering legal assistance to the poor and needy, especially tribals who faced harassment from the police.

Festive offer

Stepping up her plan to serve the weaker sections, she took the plunge into politics in 2004. She joined the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and contested unsuccessfully from the Mulugu seat that year. She was first elected from Mulugu in 2009. In the first polls held after the formation of Telangana in 2014, she lost to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS, as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi was formerly called) candidate Azmeera Chandulal.

Three years later, she joined the Congress along with Revanth Reddy, who was her colleague in the TDP, and won the seat in the 2018 polls as its candidate.

Even as her political life flourished, Seethakka did not quit her pursuit of education. In 2022, she completed a PhD in political science from Osmania University. Her thesis was on “Social exclusion and deprivation of migrant tribals of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh state – A case study of Gotti Koya tribes in Warangal and Khammam districts”.

It was during the Covid pandemic that Seethakka came to limelight. As the authorities enforced lockdown restricting people to their homes, she realised that people residing in the remotest tribal villages in her constituency were more vulnerable to hunger and poverty. She was seen traversing the forests on foot or by a tractor or a two-wheeler, to bring food and groceries to villagers. Although her rivals called her moves “publicity stunts”, she maintained that ensuring “food, clothes and shelter” for local tribals remained her priority.

Ahead of the recent Assembly election, Seethakka told The Indian Express that in her third term as an MLA she would focus on tackling the menace of growing unemployment, making efforts to generate jobs in both the public and private sectors in her constituency. She said the setting up of the skill development centres in Mulugu would spare local youths from the trouble of travelling to Hyderabad.

This time, Seethakka won the Mulugu seat by over 33,000 votes against the BRS candidate and Mulugu Zilla Praja Parishad chairperson, Bade Nagajyothi, the daughter of late Maoist leader Bade Nageshwara Rao and ex-Maoist Rajeshwari.

During her interactions with children, Seethakka often underlines the crucial significance of education in life, drawing from her own experience.

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