After weeks of speculation over where Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's son and Information Technology Minister Nara Lokesh may make his poll debut from, in the upcoming Legislative Assembly elections, the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has decided to field him as a candidate from Mangalagiri constituency in Guntur district.
Naidu is understood to have taken the decision on Wednesday. An official announcement is likely to be made on Thursday when the TDP will release its first list of candidates. Lokesh, presently a member of the Legislative Council, will be making his debut in a direct election.
Sources in the TDP said that Naidu considered various constituencies including Kuppam, his home ground in Chittoor district, besides Visakhapatnam North and Bheemli, before zeroing in on Mangalagiri.
Mangalagiri constituency includes large parts of Amaravati, the stateâ€™s upcoming capital and is generally considered a TDP stronghold. It also has a large population of weavers and Naidu believes that Lokeshâ€™s election from here would ensure that he stays close to the capital and attempts to facilitate its speedy development.
Mangalagiri also comes under the jurisdiction of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).
In 2014, Alla Ramakrishna Reddy of YSRCP was elected from Mangalagiri. He defeated Ganji Chiranjeevi of the TDP by the smallest margin in the state, of just 12 votes.
Meanwhile, the YSRCP was looking to field a BC candidate from the Padmasali (weaver) community instead of renominating incumbent Ramakrishna Reddy from Mangalagiri. But with the TDPâ€™s latest announcement, it may reconsider its decision.
While he had been working on the sidelines in the 2009 elections, Lokesh became active in the TDP in 2013. Starting off as the President of the TDP's youth wing, Lokesh quickly rose through the ranks of the party, until he reached the post of Coordinator, cadre welfare fund.
He had worked on the party strategy for the 2014 elections but did not contest the polls.
In September 2015, Naidu promoted his son, making him an ex-officio member of the politburo and the general secretary of the party's central committee. Currently, he is the TDP General Secretary and considered the second-in-command.
Lokesh holds the same post that his father held during the regime of former Andhra Chief Minister and TDP founder NT Rama Rao.
Being groomed by Naidu as his successor, Lokesh was elected to the Legislative Council in 2017 and then inducted into the cabinet.