The Vijayawada constituency in Andhra Pradesh is all set to witness a fight between two business tycoons, one from the ruling TDP and the other from the YSRCP, in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The present MP, Kesineni Srinivas aka Nani, contested on a TDP ticket in 2014 and won with a landslide margin of 74,714 votes, defeating Koneru Rajendra Prasad of the YSRCP. Seeking re-election, this time Kesineni will be going up against YSRCP candidate Potluri Vara Prasad, industrialist-owner of PVP Ventures.
Vijayawada, which was a Congress bastion until the TDP came into the picture in 1984, has a huge presence of Kammas. Most MPs who have won from the constituency have been from the Kamma community, irrespective of which party they contested for.
Vijayawada has seen one independent MP, 11 Congress MPs and 4 TDP MPs, including Kesineni. It is noteworthy that in the 10 Lok Sabha elections held since 1980, every MP has come from the Kamma community. Of the 10 MPs, four candidates have won twice, and two of them have once, including incumbent Kesineni. Ten out of 16 MPs being elected from the Kamma community shows the significance of the caste factor in the constituency. Potluri Vara Prasad, going up against Kesineni, is also from the Kamma community.
Will TDP win again?
To be re-elected, Kesineni is banking on the development activities he carried out during his tenure. He recently claimed that he has spent over Rs 7,000 crores for development activities. He said that works pertaining to the airport development, Benz circle, Kanakadurga flyover, the renovation of multi-speciality hospitals and the Vijayawada-Machilipatnam four-lane road are underway or are almost completed.
Furthermore, he declared that this time he expected to win with a majority of 3 lakh votes.
However, those on the ground claim he did not fulfil his promises. Tangirala Sony, an activist based in Nandigama, said, â€śDrinking water is the main problem in this area. Pakka houses were promised for the underprivileged but it has not been fulfilled. Few villages on riverbanks such as Atukuru, Chevitipally, Moguluru and Padavatikallu have seen some development.â€ť
Although Potluri Vara Prasad aka PVP is contesting for the first time, he had reportedly tried to contest on a TDP ticket for the Vijayawada MP seat in 2014 with the help of Pawan Kalyan, who was then in an alliance with the TDP. However, he disappeared from the political sphere as the seat was given to Kesineni Nani, who he is now going up against.
PVP secured the ticket soon after he joined the YSRCP on March 13. The YSRCP leadership had initially approached TDP leader Dasari Jai Ramesh before they gave PVP the ticket.
Addressing the media recently, PVP said that he would ensure that jobs are generated for people in the region. He said that his deeds would speak louder than his words, and that he would work for the â€śinclusive development of the city and expansion of the entertainment sector in the regionâ€ť.
He had earlier said that his agenda was to develop Vijayawada, and not politics.
Kesineni enjoys the advantage of already being the MP and is known for his easy access to citizens through his office (Kesineni Bhavan). It remains to be seen if PVP, being a newcomer, will be accessible as well.
As both parties have roped in business tycoons, observers believe that there could be a heavy inflow of money into the campaigning.