The Bharatiya Janata Party is reportedly in for a war between two industrialists -- Gokaraju Rangaraju and Kanumuri Raghuramakrishnama Raju -- for the Narsapur Parliamentary seat. The claimants feel that Narsapur is a safe bet in view of the alliance with the Telugu Desam Party.
Mr. Raghuramakrishnam Raju, is CMD of the Rs. 7,736 million Ind-Barat Infra Limited, which runs nine operational power plants across the country.
He did not find it difficult in getting nominated for the seat from the YSRC in view of his perceived clout with YSRC president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. However, differences cropped up between him and the YSRC leadership, leading to his exit from the party and making a dramatic entry into the BJP.
Mr. Raghuramakrishnam Raju, co-brother of senior Congress leader K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, is said to be instrumental in getting actors like Pavan Kalyan, founder of Jana Sena Party, and Akkineni Nagarjuna, said to be close to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, to campaign for the party.
At a time when BJP observers thought that the decks had been cleared for Mr. Raju from Narsapur, another industrialist Gokaraju Gangaraju, entered the race. Mr. Gangaraju, chairman of the Laila Group of Companies, joined the BJP in Vijayawada a few days ago, staking claim for the Narsapur seat.
A cricket administrator and founder of Asram Medical College in Eluru, Mr. Gangaraju has been a chief patron of RSS-Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activities in the coastal region for over a decade. He plays a key role in running a Sanskrit school for tribals in Jeelugumilli mandal in the Agency of West Godavari district, a pet project of the RSS-VHP. The septuagenarian also manages Delta Paper Mills near Bhimavaram, a chemical factory at Jangareddygudem and sugar factories in Krishna district and the Telangana region as well.
Narsapur was earlier represented by actor U.V. Krishnama Raju of the BJP, a native of Mogaltur under the constituency and also a former Union Minister in the NDA regime.
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress is poised to re-nominate its sitting MP and TTD Chairman Kanumuri Bapi Raju for Narsapur. Incidentally, the Raju trio happen to be close relatives!