The Telugu Desam Party’s decision to admit Guntur Congress MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao into its fold appears to be a calculated choice.

Mr. Sambasiva Rao, who formally joined the TDP in the presence of party president N. Chandrababu Naidu here on Monday, has reportedly been assured Narasaraopet Lok Sabha constituency, presently represented by senior leader Modugula Venugopal Reddy. Mr. Rao has been offered Narasaraopet as the party has already pitch-forked industrialist-turned-politician Jay Galla as its nominee from Guntur Lok Sabha seat.

Mr. Rao along with his brother Rayapati Srinivas and a host of followers joined the TDP on Ugadi, the Telugu New Year day, claiming that Mr. Naidu alone has the capacity and vision to ensure accelerated development of the successor State of Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Naidu, he said, was instrumental in bringing international fame to Hyderabad and he would work with same spirit for developing the Seemandhra region to new heights.

Opposition

The decision to field Mr. Rao from Narasaraopet has, however, not gone down well with the incumbent Mr. Venugopal Reddy, who is unwilling to sacrifice the constituency that he nurtured for the last five years. Mr. Reddy made his intentions clear at a recent meeting of the party workers in Guntur that he was in no mood to vacate the seat for Mr. Rao. The contest in Narasaraopet turned important as the YSR Congress has announced candidature of A. Ayodhya Rami Reddy, founder of Ramky Group, as its nominee from the constituency. Interestingly, Mr. Rami Reddy is a close relative of Mr. Venugopal Reddy but the latter is firm on contesting against the Ramky chief.

The caste equation in the Lok Sabha constituency too poses an interesting picture with Reddy community candidates, including former Chief Ministers Kasu Brahmananda Reddy and N. Janardhan Reddy, former Minister Kasu Venkatakrishna Reddy and Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy (presently with YSRC), representing it in the past.

“But the constituency as a whole is a mixed bag with Kammas being the single largest community,” a former Minister pointed out.

TDP leaders from the district are confident that the entry of Mr. Sambasiva Rao, a strong Congressman who stood by the party during difficult times like N.T. Rama Rao’s entry into politics, will send a strong signal to the people.

“If the TDP manages to convince Mr. Venugopal Reddy, it will be a smooth sailing for Mr. Rao,” a Congress MLA loyal to the Guntur MP said.

Keywords: RayapatiNarsaraoet