The Polavaram project was initiated by the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, the late Dr. YS Rajashekhar Reddy, who envisaged the project as a prestigious one for the state. Dr. YSR also held all-party consultations on the dam and reached out to all the stake-holders on the same. He also got the Centre's clearance for the project and ensured that most of the work relating to the project was completed during his tenure.

Dr. Rajashekhar Reddy's untimely demise proved to be a huge setback for the state in many areas of development. Progress on Polavaram project got severely impacted and during former Chief Minister Rosaiah's tenure, work on the dam virtually came to a grinding halt. Interestingly, the current Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu was a staunch critic of the project all along. He was also critical of Rosaiah's successor, Kiran Kumar Reddy's handling of the project.

Chandrababu Naidu's reign of about three and a half years has been marked by a spate of questions relating to the project, be it with regard to cost escalation, contractor issues or rehabilitation of those affected by the dam. Differences appear to have cropped between the Centre and the state on several aspects relating to Polavaram, which is evident from the fact that media outlets supportive of TDP resorted to criticising the Centre.

It all narrows down to the completion of the project now and it is necessary for Chandrababu Naidu to bring the Centre on to the same page. The all-important question is--to what extent is the Union government prepared to listen to him?