Political showdown in Pithapuram, Hindupur, Mangalagiri: YSRCP women candidates clash with NDA alliance

By the social engineering approach and taking political calculations into account, the YSRCP leadership fielded woman candidates

By Sistla Dakshina Murthy  Published on  3 April 2024 2:00 AM GMT
Political showdown in Pithapuram, Hindupur, Mangalagiri: YSRCP women candidates clash with NDA alliance

Vijayawada: With only 40 days remaining before the Assembly elections, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) is fortifying its defences and laid a special emphasis on unseating TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance leaders Pawan Kalyan, Nandamuri Balakrishna, and Nara Lokesh in the constituencies of Pithapuram, Hindupur and Mangalagiri, respectively.

YSRCP’s attempt to repeat history

By the social engineering approach and taking political calculations into account, the YSRCP leadership fielded woman candidates Vanga Geetha in Pithapuram, TN Deepika in Hindupur, and Murugudu Lavanya in Mangalagiri. The YSRCP plans to field candidates from particular caste backgrounds to increase the party’s prospects of winning elections by strengthening support from these communities.

In the 2019 elections, the YSRCP succeeded in defeating Lokesh at Mangalagiri, Pawan Kalyan at Bhimavaram and Gajuwaka constituencies. The YSRCP leadership thought of repeating the same mantra on Lokesh, Pawan Kalyan and Nandamuri Balakrishna in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Tough fight between Vanga Geetha, Pawan Kalyan

In Pithapuram, Vanga Geetha and Pawan Kalyan have intensified their poll campaign by visiting every doorstep in the constituency.

Nearly 40 per cent of the electorate, or over 90,000 Kapu voters, are present in the constituency. A tough contest is anticipated in the constituency since the YSRCP is concentrating on divisive voting among non-Kapu communities. The segment also has around 80,000 votes from Backward Classes.

Vanga Geetha, an alumna of the University of Nagpur, was an advocate-turned-politician. Before her election to the Kakinada Lok Sabha seat in 2019, she had ascended to become a member of the Rajya Sabha from the TDP. She joined the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) and emerged victorious from the Pithapuram Constituency in the 2009 Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections.

YSRCP appointed Mithun Reddy to guarantee Geetha’s victory

To strengthen the YSRCP’s presence in the constituency and guarantee Vanga Geetha’s victory, chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy made Rajampet MP PV Mithun Reddy as a regional coordinator for Pithapuram.

Mithun Reddy was instrumental in bringing former minister and Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham into the YSRCP fold and also succeeded in pacifying sitting MLA Pendem Dorababu. At first, the YSRCP considered fielding Mudragada in Pithapuram against Pawan Kalyan. However, the Kapu leader promptly refrained from contesting but promised Jagan that the party would receive support in the constituency.

Recently, Mithun Reddy has also succeeded in roping in Jana Sena Pithapuram candidate from the 2019 elections, Makineedi Seshu Kumari, into the YSRCP.

She secured a 15 per cent vote share in the previous elections and her exit from the Jana Sena will affect the party’s chances with Kapu community voters. To turn the Kapu voters in its favour, the YSRCP leadership is also in plans to arrange meetings with caste leaders and explain to them the welfare done by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the last four-and-half-a years for the constituency.

Pawan Kalyan vows to develop Pithapuram

After facing a debacle in both the Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram constituencies in the 2019 Assembly elections, Pawan Kalyan is contesting from Pithapuram where the Kapu voters are high.

During his election campaigning in the constituency, the actor-turned-politician promised to develop Pithapuram into a model constituency in the state and construct hospitals with the support of private players if he was elected as an MLA.

Another major advantage for Pawan Kalyan is TDP candidate SVSN Varma, who initially objected to his candidature, changed his mind following an assurance from TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and joined hands with the actor-turned-politician.

Lokesh to face stiff challenge from Lavanya

In Mangalagiri, the YSRCP leadership is fielding Murugudu Lavanya from the weaver’s community against TDP national general secretary Nara Lokesh.

In the 2019 elections, Lokesh was defeated by YSRCP candidate Alla Ramakrishna Reddy. A couple of months ago, Ramakrishna Reddy left the YSRCP and joined the Congress. With Reddy’s exit from the constituency, the party leadership appointed Ganji Chiranjeevi from the weavers’ community as in-charge for the constituency.

However, Reddy returned to the YSRCP and expressed his wish to stay away from contesting the elections. The YSRCP leadership decided to field Lavanya against Lokesh in the upcoming elections and even Ganja Chiranjeevi to assure YS Jagan that he would work for the party’s victory in the constituency.

Lavanya is the daughter of former MLA Kandru Kamala and daughter-in-law of MLC M Hanumantha Rao. To ensure the party’s victory in the constituency, Reddy was appointed as regional coordinator for Lavanya and interacted with various sections of the people in the constituency. With around 80,000 voters from the BC community and Reddy backing her candidacy as an MLA, Lavanya has an advantage when it comes to caste factor voting in Mangalagiri.

Apart from that, Ramakrishna Reddy and Ganja Chiranjeevi also joined their hands for Lavanya’s victory keeping aside their personal agendas for YS Jagan which will also be a value-added factor for the YSRCP.

Despite his defeat in Mangalagiri, Lokesh has been accessible to the public and has spent his own money to empower the women and other working-class sectors in the constituency, as per party sources. Since 1983, the TDP won twice in the constituency and after that candidates from the Congress, CPI and the YSRCP became MLAs.

Deepika to lock horns with Balakrishna

In Hindupur, Tippegowda Narayan Deepika will take on actor-turned-politician and two MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna.

Deepika hails from the BC community and she is the wife of YSRCP leader Venugopal Reddy. Her parents belong to the Kuruba community. In the 2019 elections, Shaik Mohammed Iqbal contested on behalf of the YSRCP was defeated by Balakrishna with a majority of 14,028 votes.

As part of its strategy to secure the seat and put an end to hattrick chances for Balakrishna, the YSRCP had appointed party senior leader and minister Pedireddy Ramachandra Reddy as regional coordinator for the constituency.

For the last few days, Peddireddy intensified his campaign in Hindupur and gathered all his strength for Deepika’s victory. The constituency has around 13.6 per cent of SC and 4.57 per cent population of ST.

Peddireddy was highlighting the welfare done by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government to the poor and downtrodden sections in the society. On the other hand, Hindupur has been the home turf for the TDP since 1983. Aiming for a hattrick victory in the constituency, Balakrishna stayed away from his film shootings and kept a focus on highlighting the failures of the YSRCP government.

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