‘Modi wave’ and alliance with TDP are likely to help him gain the edge
For former Congress MLA Vellampalli Srinivas, contesting from the Vijayawada West Assembly constituency on the BJP ticket, the patch-up between the TDP and the BJP might have come as a relief.
But, history does not seem to be favourable to him, as no candidate has won twice consecutively from the constituency in the past two decades.
While many still consider Vellampalli’s deserting the Congress and joining the BJP as a political hara-kiri, some are of the view that the “Modi wave” and the alliance might help him gain the edge.
Sources say though Muslims (around 30,000 out of 2.12 lakh voters) in the constituency are against the YSRC’s Jaleel Khan owing to his indifference towards his own community, they are willing to bury the hatchet in favour of the YSRC, for the late Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy had extended 4 per cent reservation to them.
The TDP not fielding Muslim candidates in the Seemandhra region is also reason for Muslim voters to come together to bail out Jaleel.
“The contest is gradually getting one-sided, with a good number of voters from the Scheduled Caste (around 50,000), minority and certain sections of Backward Castes are showing inclination to vote for the YSRC candidate.
“The nationwide anti-incumbency factor might prove detrimental to Congress candidate Akula Srinivas, a Kapu leader. His community has around 15,000 votes,” says Avala Maruti, a former Corporator.
“Still, many voters consider the BJP as a communal party. Though the TDP leaders will abide by the alliance, voters might go against the alliance partner.
“The rebel TDP candidates might thwart Srinivas’s chances,” feels city Congress working president Meesala Rajeswara Rao.
According to him, despite the good work done by Velampalli Srinivas as Legislator, the party he represents – the BJP – is his weak point.
Giving the edge to Jaleel amounts to sidelining former Mayor Mallika Begum who was keen to contest on Congress ticket.
“With no support from the Congress and no funds, she moved away from the political scene much to the relief of Jaleel Khan. Otherwise, she would have split the Muslim votes,” says Mohammad Khaja, an analyst.
Mr. Velampalli Srinivas’s game plan to garner North Indian and Nagaralu votes (around 45,000) along with the traditional vote share of the TDP might not be sufficient to emerge victorious in the closely-fought battle.