Karne Sirisha, a 24-year-old Dalit woman hailing from Marikkal village, PeddaKothapally, Nagarkurnool district, is emerging as a formidable candidate in the Kollapur elections, challenging candidates from major parties like BRS, Congress, and BJP.

Popularly known as 'Barrelakka' (sister with buffaloes), she has gained significant attention not only for her political aspirations but also for her YouTube channel, boasting a subscriber base of 1.6 lakh.

During its decade-long rule, one of the most significant unfulfilled promises by the BRS has been the provision of jobs for millions of unemployed people in the state. Shedding light on this issue, a young girl from a humble background has made it a central theme of her election campaign.

Her narrative unfolds with the struggles of investing borrowed money in coaching centres, navigating the challenging city of Hyderabad, and preparing for the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) Group I examination. Throughout this period, she relied on food from free roadside feeding centres and temple prasadam to sustain herself for several days.


Despite facing such hardships, she dedicated herself to her studies and successfully wrote her exams. However, her efforts proved futile as her written exams were repeatedly canceled on various pretexts. This young girl's story serves as a poignant illustration of the pervasive issue of unemployment and the challenges faced by those aspiring government jobs in the state.

Now, determined to tackle the bigger challenge -- politics -- she has decided to bring attention to the struggles of countless unemployed youth in the state and hold accountable those responsible for the unfulfilled promises in addressing this critical issue.

Addressing Recruitment Exam Delays

Sirisha voiced her concerns about the persistent delays in government recruitment exams, including Group 1, 2, SI, and constable examinations, attributing the setbacks to paper leaks. Expressing her disappointment, she highlighted the challenges faced by aspirants like her due to the recurring leakage issues.

Barrelakka Moniker and Symbolic Protest

Her moniker 'Barrelakka' originated from her symbolic protest against the state government's job-related promises. In a unique demonstration, she acquired four buffaloes, expressing her dissatisfaction with the lack of job opportunities. Managing the buffalo herd became a source of sustenance for her family, as she documented her struggles in a viral video on YouTube.

Viral Impact and Broad Support

The videos depicting her buffalo-tending routine resonated widely, particularly among the unemployed population in Telangana. Sirisha's campaign slogan, 'job for jobless,' is now rallying support from diverse groups, including jobless youth, lawyers, and bureaucrats, cutting across societal divides.

Incident of Attack on Her Brother

Recently, her 18-year-old brother faced an assault by unidentified assailants, prompting a video in which an emotional Sirisha detailed the incident to go viral. She emphasized their lack of political experience and their intention to contribute positively to society through their candidacy.

The unexpected attack prompted her to file a petition in the Telangana High Court, seeking enhanced security until the elections. In her plea, she mentioned alleged hindrances created by candidates from other parties, who she claims are threatening her to withdraw from the electoral race. 

Supporters of Barrelakka Sirisha

In the lead-up to the November 30 polls in Telangana, the political landscape has witnessed an unprecedented shift as independent candidate Barrelakka takes the center stage, surpassing the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, his Minister-son K T Rama Rao, and even Congress leader Revanth Reddy.

Barrelakka, who recently announced her candidacy for the Kollapur Assembly constituency, initially faced skepticism from political parties. However, her remarkable traction on social media has compelled the main political players to take her candidacy seriously, causing unease among the top contenders.

Supported by youth, intellectuals, and social activists, Barrelakka has garnered substantial backing, with resources pouring in from across the state to bolster her campaign. Enlisting like-minded individuals, activists are organizing visits to her constituency in a concerted effort until the campaign concludes on Tuesday evening.

Political scientist G Haragopal views Barrelakka's candidacy as an experimental societal endeavor, describing it as an innocent effort by a young woman to express her views. While winning the election may pose challenges, Haragopal believes it will undoubtedly spark a meaningful debate in society.


Despite downplaying her significance, the main political parties have entered a denial mode, asserting that Barrelakka is of no consequence. However, a physical attack on her and her brother recently indicates the disruption she has already caused. A viral video capturing her emotional account of the incident has further intensified the social media spotlight on her.

Barrelakka, seeking protection, has finally obtained a favorable order from the Telangana High Court, amid allegations from the ruling party suggesting funding from the opposition, while Barrelakka continues to receive support from diverse quarters. Social activists are running a robust social media campaign, rallying volunteers willing to campaign on her behalf in the constituency, at a time when every other contestant is spending lakhs of rupees to gather people for gatherings or rallies.

For some observers such as former journalism teacher Padmaja Shaw, the candidature of Barrelakka may leave a momentary impact but the political landscape remains dynamic, as her sudden presence has already ignited a significant political discourse in Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.