The TDP has never won the Tirupati seat on its own in last 20 years and the dilly-dallying in selection of candidate has given an adge to the Congress MP

Even when his residence was besieged during the height of Samaikyandhra movement, Chinta Mohan did not utter a word against the Congress high command. It was this unflinching loyalty that has always helped Dr. Mohan bag the ticket for the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat.

The six-time parliamentarian is in the fray yet again as a solid force on behalf of the beleaguered Congress. “Dr. Mohan never wavered nor was unnerved when the bifurcation decision led to large-scale desertions in the party,” a close aide recalls. The general aversion to Congress seen elsewhere is much lesser in the case of Dr. Mohan, observers say.

The TDP-BJP combine’s dilly-dallying in selecting a candidate could work to the advantage of Dr. Mohan who has already hit the campaign trail.

The number of aspirants touched a new high after the ticket was allotted to the BJP.

The TDP has never won the Tirupati seat on its own in the last 20 years. The TDP-BJP alliance did wonders in 1999 when BJP candidate N. Venkataswamy, a retired bureaucrat, won the lone seat for the party in Rayalaseema.

With the ‘Modi wave’ seen only in the urban pockets, it remains to be seen as to how the BJP candidate would make inroads in rural segments.

Thanks to the haphazard delimitation, the constituency extends up to Sarvepalle near Nellore town while rural Tirupati is tagged to the neighbouring Chittoor LS seat.

The constituency is spread across Tirupati, Srikalahasti, Satyavedu (in Chittoor district), Sullurpet, Gudur, Venkatagiri and Sarvepalle (SPSR Nellore district) Assembly segments.

Issues like slow pace of work on the NTPC-BHEL power project, international airport and the world class railway station could go against Dr. Chinta Mohan who is now going ahead with a promise to develop a world class port in Dugarajupatnam.