Veteran Member of Parliament Rayapati Sambasiva Rao launched his election campaign amid fanfare on Wednesday by offering prayers to the presiding deities at Anjaneya Swamy Temple here at Kothapet.

The five-time MP from Guntur, who joined the Telugu Desam recently, later drove to the party office where he took the primary membership of the party.

Senior TDP leaders -- Makineni Pedarathaiah and Mannava Subba Rao -- party candidate for Guntur Lok Sabha Galla Jayadev and MLAs -- D. Narendra, Nakka Anand Babu and K. Sridhar -- welcomed Mr. Rao at the party office. Mr. Rao is all set to contest on the TDP ticket from Narsaraopet Lok Sabha constituency.

Later, he offered prayers at Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Vaikuntapuram in Pedakurapadu, part of Narsaraopet Lok Sabha segment. Addressing party men, Mr. Rao said he had severed a three-decade-long association with Congress as he was pained at the manner in which the State had been bifurcated. The Congress had not heeded to the pleas of the people and would pay a heavy price, he said.

Makeshift office

Mr. Rao has made arrangements for staying in Narsaraopet for a month and a makeshift party office with all the paraphernalia has been put in place. As Mr. Rao kick starts his campaign, he begins with an advantage. Four out of the seven Assembly segments in Narsaraopet Lok Sabha segment are with the TDP. Post-delimitation, demerger of Reddy-dominant mandals in Ongole Lok Sabha segment had changed the caste dynamics of the constituency. With the Congress running out of steam and the YSRC facing its first test, Mr. Rao is hoping to turn the tide in his favour.

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