It's TDP vs YSRCP on Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat
Visakhapatnam: Contours for the prestigious Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha constituency have been drawn. Candidates are out in the field to take on each other with their own set of 'attractive' promises for the electorates of the constituency.
As voters' days are out, they are also utilising the opportunity that comes once in five years by raising their pertinent issues to draw the attention of all 20 candidates in the fray to represent the prestigious constituency also known as the Port City of Andhra Pradesh.
The Election Commission has also been very active to implement model code of conduct as it covered the faces of statues of Rajiv Gandhi, TDP patriarch NT Rama Rao so that people don't get influenced by the standstill statues.
In the constituency which has over 18 lakh voters, the main contest is among the candidates of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and Jana Sena Party (JSP) of well-known film actor Pawan Kalyan.
The TDP has fielded billionaire M Sribharat, who has declared assets of Rs 230 crore. The YSRCP nominee is realtor MVV Satyanarayana, who has declared assets close to Rs 201 crore, while BJP's nominee and former Union Minister Daggubatti Purandeswari, the daughter of TDP founder NT Rama Rao, has declared assets of Rs 31 crore and Jana Sena Party's nominee and former CBI Joint Director VV Lakshminarayana (popularly known as JD) has declared assets of Rs 8.6 crore.
"There is a close fight between TDP and YSRCP. The BJP and others are not even in the race. It's also that people in rural belts are more inclined towards YSRCP, while the urban population is in favour of electing TDP candidate," said Bhaskar Rao, a resident of Visakhapatnam.
Rao, who is a small entrepreneur, opined that it's a fact that the TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu developed the city in record time after it was dismantled by cyclone Hudhud in 2014, but his policy decisions are in favour of IT corporate.
"The government has transferred Rs 10,000 into the accounts of women self-help groups five months prior to the announcement of poll dates. It could have been done much earlier to empower women groups. There need to be more done for the middle-class population for the comprehensive development of the state," said, Rao who has employed 10 skilled workers to run his printing press. Contrary to Rao, Raja Babu stressed that to give impetus to development, TDP has to win else developments works in the state would come to standstill. "There is no space for BJP or Congress. Both the national parties are irrelevant in the state. Last time BJP had won Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha as TDP had supported it," Babu told Millennium Post.
Interestingly, the sitting BJP MP Kambhampati Hari Babu, who had won this seat in 2014 with over 90,000 margins, has 'refused' to be in the ray. Not only him, other BJP MLAs too refused to enter into the war field after the alliance with TDP was severed.
Taking a dig at K Hari's reluctance to contest the poll, TDP spokesperson Lanka Dinakaran said, "The BJP candidates are going to lose their deposits on all seats as their leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi has betrayed the people's mandate of the Andhra Pradesh. People will vote to remove to save the country."
The constituency is spread over the port city of Visakhapatnam, its suburbs and rural areas in neighbouring Vizianagaram district. The contest has become more interesting with the entry of former CBI joint director VV Lakshminarayana into the fray from Vizag. Lakshminarayana is a well-known figure in Andhra Pradesh for heading probes into several high profile cases like the Satyam scam, the OMC mining scam and the disproportionate assets case against Jaganmohan Reddy. It's him who had arrested Jagan in DA case.
Purandeswari, who had won in 2009 election on Congress and became a cabinet minister in Manmohan Singh's government, is contesting as a candidate of the BJP that she joined after quitting the Congress following Andhra Pradesh's bifurcation in 2014.
It's a fight of family members for TDP and BJP candidates as Purandeswari is facing Bharat who is the son-in-law of her actor brother and TDP leader N Balakrishna. Purandeswari is the elder sister of N Bhuneswari, the wife of the Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu.