Will BJP retain the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat, which was won in 2014 as an alliance partner of the ruling TDP?
As of now, Daggubati Purandeshwari, who crossed over to the saffron party couple of months back, looks a strong contender, to retain the seat. But, the jubilation among the constituents is visibly missing. People are not coming out in open to support BJP, reasons best know to them.
The road show organized on Thursday with none than the party President Amit Shah’s presence, proved, a damn squib. Not many people turned up to cheer neither the BJP chief nor the candidate, who is no less a popular leader. She is the daughter of TDP founder-president and most ‘charismatic’ leader N T Ramarao.
Added to ‘thin crowds’ the BJP chief Amit Shah’s decision to skip public meeting thereafter added to woes of the party’s rank and file.
Notwithstanding these surprise developments, still Purandeshwari appears to stand better chances than her YSRCP or TDP or Jana Sena rivals. They are little known or fresh faces in comparison to her personal popularity as well political experience.
The TDP has fielded Sri Bharat, grandson of former MP late MVVS Murthy, while the former joint director of CBI, V V Lakshminarayana, entered the electoral fray as Pavan Kalyan’s Jana Sena candidate. The YSRCP, which is riding high on its chief Jaganmohan Reddy’s popularity and charm, has fielded MVV Satyanarayana, a builder.
In 2014, the BJP’s K Hari Babu defeated his nearest YSRCP candidate, Vijayamma, who also happens to be that party’s working president. She is wife of late former chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and mother of party chief Dr YS Jganmohan Reddy. She lost to BJP nominee with little over 1,30,000 votes.
But, Purandeshwari is not new to Visakhapatnam as she won the same seat as Congress candidate in 2009 polls. Later, she went on to become a minister in Congress-led UPA-I government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. During that poll, her nearest rival was Palla Srinivas of ‘mega star’ Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) which was later merged into Congress.
Although, she defected to YSRCP just before 2014 and sought re-nomination from Visakhapatnam, the YSRCP, which was already decided to field Vijayamma, had shifted her to Rajampet constituency in Rayalaseema where she lost.
But, this time around, she entered the electoral fray as the BJP nominee to test her luck yet again.
Ironically, the Visakhapatnam constituency is known for accepting ‘parachute’ leaders for long.
Will she create a record by winning the seat from Congress as well BJP ticket?