Scramble for 5 Lok Sabha seats rocks grand alliance plan in Andhra
HYDERABAD: The BJP, TDP, Loksatta and Jana Sena may be working towards forging a grand alliance in this election, but intense intra-party and inter-party wrangling over five Lok Sabha constituencies is threatening to come in the way of the electoral pact among the four parties. The five constituencies are Malkajgiri, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Ongole.
Malkajgiri in the city seems to be a most sought-after seat with practically every leader from every region wanting to contest from here. One of the biggest constituencies in the country, 90 per cent of the electorate of Malkajgiri comprises the urban middle-class of which a sizeable number are migrants from Seemandhra. While Loksatta president Jayaprakash Narayan has already announced his candidature, Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan too wants to contest from here. His aides claim that the PRP, in the 2009 election, secured over 2.4 lakh votes. While the third-placed PRP nominee was Telangana leader Devender Goud, Pawan Kalyan claims that a majority of the Seemandhra migrants (like him) belong to the Kapu community from East and West Godavari districts and therefore, the actor has a good chance of unseating sitting Congress MP and Union minister Sarve Satyanarayana.
However, the BJP too is seeking the Malkajgiri seat on the grounds that its candidate secured over a lakh votes in the last polls and is sure to win this time if the seat is allotted to it. But within the TDP itself, there are several claimants for the seat. Two Telangana TDP leaders say the ticket should be given to someone from the region. “Malkajgiri seat should be allotted to a leader from Telangana only and I do not mind contesting,” Kodangal TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy told TOI on Saturday. But not far behind is Eraballi Dayakar Rao, another Telangana TDP leader. “I will leave Warnagal district if I am given the Malkajgiri seat,” he said. But that is not all, senior Telangana TDP leader Motkupalli Narsimhulu, who is apparently cut up with party president Chandrababu Naidu for not nominating him to the Rajya Sabha, too wants to contest from Malkajgiri.
The Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat is also turning out to be a major bone of contention among the likely alliance partners. The TDP admitted Congress leader Ganta Srinivasa Rao into its fold after assuring him the Vizag LS seat. But within days, Union minister D Purandeswari quit the Congress and joined the BJP and the sitting MP wants to be re-nominated from there. But BJP’s own leader Kambhampati Haribabu too is eyeing the Vizag seat and the fight for this seat is causing heartburn in both the TDP and BJP.
The fight for Vizag is spilling over to the Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat. According to sources, Purandeswari is not averse to contesting from there instead of Vizag, but the TDP has already nominated Kesineni Nani even as Pawan Kalyan wants the seat to be allotted to his party leader Potluri Varaprasad.
The Tirupati Lok Sabha seat too is being fought over by the TDP and BJP. Within the TDP, party Rajya Sabha MP Y Sujana Chowdhary is pitching for Malyadri Sriram, the TDP candidate who lost to Congress nominee Panabaka Lakshmi from Bapatla in 2009. However, CM Ramesh, another party MP, is lobbying for Paramasivam, his close aide. But the BJP too wants the Tirupati seat and its reasoning is that its candidate Venkatswamy had won the seat in 1999 when the two parties fought the election together.
In Ongole, even as the TDP has promised the Lok Sabha seat to its former MP and MLA Karanam Balaram, Loksatta’s Jayaprakash Narayan wants the seat in case he has to forego Malkajgiri. But Purandeswari, who recently joined the BJP, wants the Ongole seat to be given to her in case the party is not able to accommodate her either in Visakhapatnam or Vijayawada. “We hope that these five Lok Sabha seats will not come in the way of the alliance among the four parties. But at this moment, all of them are sticking to their demand that the seats to be allotted to them,” said a TDP leader.