In a major political development, Vangaveeti Radha, the son of late Kapu leader and Congress MLA Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga, joined the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. Radha was welcomed by TDP President and Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, along with his followers in Vijayawada.
The senior leader had quit the YSRCP in January this year, as he had been upset for a while after Malladi Vishnu, who joined the party in July 2017 was elevated within the party and made the constituency coordinator for Vijayawada Central, a ticket that Radha was eyeing.
A top source from YSRCP earlier told TNM that Radha was asked to either contest from Vijayawada East constituency or the Machilipatnam Lok Sabha seat, even though he insisted that he wanted the Vijayawada Central ticket, which has been the bastion of his family.
Radha, who is viewed as a successor of prominent Kapu leader Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga, enjoys a considerable amount of support in Vijayawada, given its political history.
However, it seems that even in the TDP, the party has only offered him the Machilipatnam Lok Sabha constituency seat, as the region has a strong presence of the Kapu community.
According to reports, the negotiation for Radha to join the TDP was done by Congress leader and ex-MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, who may join the ruling party himself ahead of the polls, and contest from the Narsaraopet Lok Sabha seat. Lagadapati, a staunch proponent of united Andhra Pradesh had resigned from politics during the bifurcation of the state in 2014.
Radhakrishna's father, Vangaveeti Ranga, was a former MLA, who made his way up through gang rivalries and faction wars in the 1970s in Vijayawada, before he joined politics and became a Kapu leader in the 80s. In the early hours of December 25, 1988, Ranga was assassinated by members of a rival group in public as he sat on an indefinite fast in Vijayawada.
The violence that Ranga's murder triggered, claimed over 40 lives in the city and property worth several crore rupees was destroyed. The violence only abated after then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister NT Rama Rao made TDP legislator Devineni 'Nehru' Rajasekhar surrender. Then Home Minister Kodela Siva Prasada Rao also had to resign.