YSRC aims for a clean sweep, TDP keen to regain lost citadel

Executive capital, steel plant privatisation likely to determine poll outcome in Visakhapatnam; BJP, Jana Sena make all-our efforts to put up a good show in 2024

Published: 30th January 2023 10:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2023 10:46 AM   |  A+A-

Vizag, Visakhapatnam
Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: Visakhapatnam has always been in focus on all fronts and in politics too it is a nerve centre. The combined district with 15 Assembly seats has unique a distinction as it is a combination of urban, rural and agency segments. Post bifurcation, Visakhapatnam, gateway of Uttarandhra, has become the largest city in the State.

All major parties whether it is TDP, or YSRC or Jana Sena or BJP have considerable share of votes in Visakhapatnam compared to other districts of the State. All the parties have started working overtime to consolidate and improve their vote banks much ahead of elections in 2024. Two issues are likely to influence the outcome in the district in the ensuing elections. They are executive capital and 100% strategic disinvestment of RINL, corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

The YSRC whose juggernaut came to a halt in Visakhapatnam city in the last elections as four of the six urban constituencies were won by TDP, is keen to make a clean sweep next time to gain total control on Vizag. It had used all its energies to grab the GVMC mantle in the civic polls.

The TDP, which has strong cadre, is trying to ride home on the crest of anti-incumbency. The Jana Sena, which suffered a severe jolt with party president Pawan Kalyan tasting defeat in Gajuwaka in 2019, is trying to reverse the situation and confident of putting up a good show this time.

The BJP had tasted success in the district, whenever it was in alliance with the TDP. The party is fighting to come out of the ‘shackles’ and establish itself as a formidable force. The BJP deployed Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan as the party district incharge to give the much needed boost to the party in the region as it is relying on Central schemes and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma. How far the strategies of the major parties will influence the voters, has been generating a lot of curiosity.

Visakhapatnam has gained prominence after the YSRC government came up with the proposal of making it an executive capital as part of its decentralised development plan. Voters belonging to Kapu, fishermen, Yadava and Velama communities are the deciding factors in any election. They had sailed with the TDP in most of the elections. In 2019, the equation had changed and the YSRC could succeed in winning their support.

Though the parties are planning big for the political battle, the ruling YSRC and the opposition TDP are facing dissidence and internal bickerings in some of the constituencies. Visakhapatnam South TDP MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar joined the YSRC. However, his entry triggered dissidence among aspirants of the party ticket in the YSRC.

The 2024 elections are crucial for all the major parties as they will decide their future political survival. The YSRC seems to be ahead of its rival in drawing up strategies. Transparency in welfare schemes and urban housing scheme are likely to help the ruling party. Whereas opposition parties are banking on their traditional voters and anti-incumbency factor.

Bheemunipatnam was once a strong fort of TDP. Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao, who contested as YSRC nominee, made inroads into  the TDP bastion. He has been making efforts to retain hold in the next elections. Though the TDP is devoid of strong leadership, it has traditional vote bank in rural areas. Its chances will be on the candidate it chooses. The Jana Sena which marred the prospects of TDP nominee, has gained strength in the constituency.

Vizag East is yet another focus constituency as Velagapudi Ramakrishna Babu is trying for the fourth consecutive victory. So as to checkmate his winning streak, the YSRC has given key posts of mayor, VMRDA chief and MLC to the leaders of dominant Yadava community in the constituency. It is planning to field a candidate having both political and strong financial background. The name of Vizag MP MVV Satyanarayana is doing rounds as YSRC candidate.

In Vizag North segment, Ganta Srinivasa Rao of TDP won with a slender margin of 1,800 votes. It is still not known whether he will contest again from the constituency or shift to another. The YSRC is ahead as it announced KK Raju as the party nominee. The JSP has also emerged as a force in the constituency.

Gajuwaka is another hot constituency where the steel plant is located. JSP chief Pawan Kalyan was defeated by YSRC nominee Tippala Nagireddy last time. The TDP is banking on its performance in GVMC elections in Gajuwaka zone as it won the majority divisions. The VSP privatisation issue will impact chances of candidates.

In Pendurthi, the YSRC is facing tough situation due to rejuvenated TDP. Sitting MLA Adeep Raj is also trying to consolidate his position though there is some resentment against his candidature. YSRC district president Panchakarla Ramesh Babu is also one of the aspirants for the seat. The TDP is most likely to field its veteran leader Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy.

Anakapalle is yet another key seat in the combined district as IT Minister Gudivada Amarnath is representing the YSRC. The party is facing group politics as there are formidable groups led by Dadi Veerabhadra Rao and MP Satyavatamna. They are opposed to the way of functioning of Amarnath. Apart from internal bickerings, Amarnath may face tough situation in case TDP-Jana Sena fields a combined candidate. The TDP house is also not in order as Perla Govind is facing rival in Buddha Naga Jagadeesh, who is in the race for the ticket.

The YSRC successfully checkmated rollercoaster of TDP leader Ch Ayyanna Patrudu in Narsipatnam, when its nominee Petla Umashankar defeated him by a handsome majority. To further weaken him, the YSRC gave DCCB chairman post to Ayyanna’s bother Sanyasi Patrudu family. However, later turn of the events in Narsipatnam helped Ayyanna Patrudu consolidate his strength in Narsipatnam, which is a deciding factor in the  next elections.

In Chodavaram, Government Whip Karanam Dharmasri is facing dissidence within his own party. The TDP won the seat in 2009 when the party lost power, could not repeat it in 2019. The TDP appointed Tatayya Babu as constituency coordinator. Though he is likely to be party candidate, former MLA KSN Raju has emerged as the strong contender for the party ticket. If Jana Sena candidate is in the fray he will tilt the scale.

TDP Visakhapatnam district president Palla Srinivasa Rao said the party will expose the extensive loot by the ruling party leaders in the name of executive capital. There are fair chances of TDP winning hands down, he said.

Though the political situation is still volatile, a bitter contest is likely between the ruling YSRC and the rejuvenated TDP in the district. However, an alliance between the TDP and the Jana Sena may change the entire political equilibrium in the district.



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