V. Raghavendra

Never in the history of Andhra Pradesh have so many ‘stars’ descended from the tinsel world as they have during these elections. The entire State is abuzz with their roadshows; but in the tiny enclave of Yanam, their star appeal is of little consequence.

In this beautiful town abutting East Godavari district, ‘Mega Star’ Chiranjeevi, his brother Pawan Kalyan or their rivals Balakrishna and NTR Jr, are huge draws, but they won’t really be able to cash in on their star power.

For Yanam, also known as French Yanam, is not part of Andhra Pradesh, but one of the 30 constituencies of Puducherry Legislative Assembly, located on banks of Vasishta, a tributary of the Godavari, about 25 km from the port city of Kakinada.

Both the Praja Rajyam and Telugu Desam parties are not registered in the Union Territory of Pondicherry; any candidate put up by them will be considered an Independent, and cannot use their reserved symbols, rail engine and bicycle respectively.

Yanam is one of the administrative regions of UT of Puducherry, along with Karaikal and Mahe in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively.

It has been largely a one-man show in Yanam since the 1969 elections. Kamichetty Parassourama Varaprassada Rao Naidu, a popular leader of French India Socialist Party who favoured continuance of French rule, was elected MLA consecutively in 1969, 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1985 (thrice as Independent, twice on Congress’s behalf and once as Janata Party candidate).

Tourism Minister of Puducherry, Malladi Krishna Rao is the incumbent MLA, who won in 1996 and 2001 also. Raksha Harikrishna of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Velaga Rajeswara Rao of Congress won in 1990 and 1991. The entire UT of Puducherry is a single Lok Sabha constituency; it also has one seat in the Rajya Sabha.

Corrections and Clarifications

The third paragraph of a report "Yanam plays by its own rules" ("Elections2009" page, April 7, 2009) was "For Yanam, also known as French Yanam, isnot part of Andhra Pradesh, but one of the 30 constituencies of PuducherryLegislative Assembly, located on banks of Vasishta, a tributary of theGodavari, about 25 km from the port city of Kakinada." The Godavari doesnot have a tributary called the Vasishta. Before it joins the Bay of Bengalthe Godavari branches into seven distributaries one of which is called theVasishta.