The brand image of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi may give the much needed push to the BJP in the general elections in Seemandhra, but the track record of the party is not on its side going by its dismal show in Parliamentary elections since the heady days of its parent organisation Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS).
BJS has fielded candidates in 1971, which was 20 years after it came into existence as the political arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for only three Parliamentary constituencies – Kakinada (P.V.N. Raju), Guntur (Jupudi Yagnya Narayana Rao) and Nellore (SC) (B. Lakshman) and all of them stood second.
There was not even a single candidate of BJS in the fray in what is today called Seemandhra in elections held in 1952, 1962, 1967 and in 1977 when it ceased to exist.
M. Venkaiah Naidu was the only BJP candidate in entire Seemandhra, from Bapatla in 1989 and he lost to S. Benjamin of Indian National Congress (INC) by 43,620 votes.
The BJP had fielded candidates for 26 out of 27 constituencies in 1991 and it had to be content with the third slot in 25 constituencies.
Similar was the party’s performance in 1996 when most of the candidates fielded in 25 constituencies stood fourth.
Candidates of NTR-TDP (LP) fared better than those of BJP.
Out of 24 candidates in 27 constituencies, only two won – U.V. Krishnam Raju from Kakinada and G. Venkata Swamy Naidu from Rajahmundry in 1998. They defeated Thota Gopalakrishna (INC) and M.V.V.S. Murthy (TDP) respectively by impressive margins.
In 1999, BJP’s S.P.P.B.K. Satyanarayana Rao won from Rajahmundry, U.V. Krishnam Raju from Narasapuram and N. Venkata Swamy from Tirupati.
They defeated Chitturi Ravindra, Kanumuri Bapiraju and Chinta Mohan who were all Congress candidates.