The businessman-turned-politician and BJP MP candidate is in for a tough fight in Narsapur. However, the presence of rebels from the TDP in Palacol and Tadepalligudem Assembly segments may upset his applecart.

Gokaraju Ganga Tata Raju, a business tycoon and BJP’s MP candidate, on Friday took a break from his gruelling campaigning schedule and met a small group of Muslim leaders. The-70-year old hugged them at Rajulalanka, a tiny village under the Narsapur Assembly segment, chanting the brotherhood mantra.

The founder of the Rs1,000-crore Laila Group of Companies, who also owns business of paper manufacturing, sugar production and herbal product, engineering and medical education, is all set to lock horns with YSRC candidate Vanka Ravindranath, a human hair exporter from Tanuku area.

Mr. Gokaraju toured in the nondescript seaside villages in a chariot, bedecked with the portraits of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena founder and actor Pawan Kalyan. New to the nitty-gritty of the politics, Mr. Gokaraju took part in door-to-door visits to reach out more voters. Striking a chord with the voters, he delivered speeches, laced with a volley of promises. Given the little presence of his party in the Narsapur Parliamentary constituency, he obviously takes a pillion ride on the TDP’s back.

Caste equation

In a clever move, the YSRC has fielded Mr. Ravindranath from the dominant Kapu community which comprise 3.5 lakh voters out of the total 13 lakh and odd electorate. The caste equation is unlikely to work in Mr. Gokaraju’s favour as his Kshatriya community is quite negligible in numbers in this segment. Yet, he pins high hopes on the power star Pawan Kalyan, a Kapu, to take the stride in his favour.

Banking on Pawan

“After all, Pawan Kalyan has more fans following in the Kapu community than his actor brother and Minister K. Chiranjeevi in our area. His charisma adds to the Modi wave,” he maintained during an informal chat with a group of journalists. In an apparent bid to build bridges with the predominant fishermen community, he also put up a fisherman `avatar’ carrying a net in his hands, off and on.

Rebel menace

However, the presence of rebels from the TDP in Palacol and Tadepalligudem Assembly segments may upset his applecart. Yet, he is determined to put up a brave face. “I am sure, I can rest on my service being rendered to different sections of people in our area for long and it certainly comes my way in weathering all the odds. Honesty is my investment,” Mr. Gokaraju said, who began his career as an employee with a monthly salary of Rs. 500 in a private company and later rose to build a mighty business empire.