Both leaving no stone unturned to win the seat. Interestingly the two contesting candidates are closely related. Ratnakar’s mother is first cousin of Ganababu.

Visakhapatnam West Assembly segment has gained a lot of attention with P.V.G.R. Naidu (Ganababu), former MLA and son of former MP and Telugu Desam leader P. Appala Narasimham and Dadi Ratnakar, youngest son of YSR Congress leader Dadi Veerbhadra Rao, who till recently was an important leader of the Telugu Desam, being locked in the contest.

Though there are 12 candidates in the fray, including Pedada Ramani Kumari of Congress, two-time corporator Botta Eswaramma of CPI (M), candidates from Lok Satta, AAP, BSP, Jai Samaikyandhra Party, and only two independents, the contest is mainly between TD-BJP combined candidate Mr. Ganababu and Mr. Ratnakar. Both belong to the Gavara community. Mr. Ganababu lays stress on the point that he is the local and can serve people well.

Mr. Ganababu was elected on the TDP ticket in 1999 from the Pendurthi segment and contested again on the Praja Rajyam ticket from Visakha West, which was one of the segments formed out of Pendurthi in 2009 after delimitation of constituencies but lost by a narrow margin to Malla Vijaya Prasad of the Congress. He returned to the Telugu Desam during late 2011.

Mr. Ratnakar was rural in-charge of TDP before his father, former TD MLA of Anakapalle decided to join the YSR Congress last year. Mr. Vijaya Prasad, YSR Congress city unit president, is working for the success of Mr. Ratnakar.

Closely related

Interestingly the two contesting candidates are closely related. Ratnakar’s mother is first cousin of Ganababu and the YSRC candidate is asserting his status as local saying that he was born in Visakhapatnam and his family has properties here and has a lot of relatives in the area.

This constituency has a rare mix of poor, affluent and people speaking different languages, thanks to the residential quarters of the Navy personnel, employees of various major public and private sector industries. One part is Gopalapatnam, Kancharapalem, Gnanapuram and others areas and the far-away Sriharipuram and industrial area, Nausena Baugh and other Naval areas including the residential quarters atop Dolphin’s Nose hill. Mr. Ganababu terms this segment as a mini-India and pinned a lot of hopes on the non-Telugu speaking voters who support BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Contacts with every area of the constituency and his sports activities (he was also international volleyball player and chairman of the District Volleyball Association) would fetch him votes, Mr. Ganababu feels.

Mr. Ratnakar, on the other hand, is confident of getting support from the slum voters who constitute 40 per cent of the 2.26 lakh voters, the 4,000 Christians, SCs and Muslims. His father has positioned himself in Sriharipuram area and is conducting a vigorous campaign.

The constituency has many issues pending for long. Hundreds have constructed houses on the Simhachalam Devasthanam lands and the houses are not regularised. With the NAD junction to Pendurthi road choked with traffic, a parallel road was laid but it was not connected to the National Highway due to NSTL not allowing it to run through its premises. House pattas are not given to those living on the hill slopes. A flyover at NAD junction is needed and another over the rail track on the Gopalapatnam-Kothapalem road. Pollution, particularly in the industrial area, is a major problem and drinking water is in short supply.

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