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Updated: April 13, 2014 04:04 IST

Kiran started late: Lagadapati

P. Sujatha Varma
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A file photo of Former Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal. Photo:Nagara Gopal
A file photo of Former Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal. Photo:Nagara Gopal

‘I am helping JSP chief finalise party candidates’

Former Congress MP from Vijayawada Lagadapati Rajagopal says his good old friend and former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s Jai Samaikyandhra Party has an uphill task ahead.

“I am helping Mr. Reddy who is in the process of finalising party candidates. Now that the local body polls are over, the focus will shift to the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. He (Kiran Reddy) has an uphill task ahead since he started out very late,” Mr. Rajagopal told The Hindu on Saturday.

Sources in Jai Samaikyandhra admit bleak prospects for the party which is struggling to find suitable candidates to project as party nominees after most of the senior leaders, who had promised to sail with Mr. Reddy, parted ways in search of greener pastures.

The election heat is on and major political parties are busy implementing their poll strategies. Amid this ballyhoo, one person who is conspicuous by his absence is Mr. Rajagopal.

Mr. Rajagopal, now popular as ‘Pepper Spray MP’, was always in the forefront of electioneering in this region in his inimitable way.

The industrialist-turned-politician maintained his distinct style in whatever he did – be it the hi-tech ritzy van he designed exclusively for campaigning in the 2004 general elections or his flamboyant image.

The moot question that dominates many minds at present is about the current whereabouts of the super-rich politician who won Vijayawada seat for the first time in 2004 and managed to retain it for the second term despite strong anti-Congress sentiment that prevailed in the region.

A mechanical engineer and formerly the head of Lanco Infratech, Mr. Rajagopal is currently in Hyderabad, helping Mr. Reddy fight what already appears to be a ‘losing battle’.

The writing is clear on the wall. Mr. Reddy’s much-hyped party is a non-starter as it has no leader of repute left to count on at this crucial juncture. But Mr. Rajagopal has vowed to lend his support to Mr. Reddy because “he has taken up a cause (a united State) that is so close to my heart”.

“I’ll come to Vijayawada on May 7 to cast my vote. Moreover, I cannot distance myself from the city which has given me so much for too long,” he declares.

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