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Bheemili: a keen contest on the cards

B. Madhu Gopal
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Bifurcation deals a severe blow to the Congress

Though Bheemunipatnam Assembly constituency has traditionally been the bastion of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), since its inception in 1983, it will be no easy task for party nominee Ganta Srinivasa Rao to reclaim the seat.

His archrival Karri Seetharam of the YSR Congress is leaving no stone unturned to give him a tough fight and a neck-and-neck race seems to be on the cards. The YSRC leaders have also taken the election as a challenge as the party’s honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma is contesting for the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha of which Bheemunipatnam Assembly constituency is one of the segments.

Bheemunipatnam, the second oldest municipality in India, was formed on February 8, 1861. At the time of its formation, the population of the town was 5,219. In contrast, the population of Visakhapatnam at that time was a mere 4,600.

The beautiful beaches with silver sands and places of historical importance like: the Buddhist heritage sites atop the hills along the coast, the clock tower constructed by the Dutch in 1850, and St. Peter’s Church, constructed in 1864, are some of the remnants of the hoary past and mute reminders of a flourishing sea trade.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has won the seat from 1983 till 2004. RSDP Appala Narsimha Raju, who won four consecutive elections, lost to newcomer Karri Seetharam (Congress) in 2004. Seetharam lost to the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) nominee Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao in the 2009 election.

The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh dealt a severe blow to the Congress in Seemandhra, pushing most Congress ministers, MLAs and other leaders to other parties, mostly to TDP and YSRC.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao, who was elected from Anakapalle Assembly segment on the PRP ticket in 2009, became a Minister in the Kiran Kumar Reddy Cabinet. He had also served as an MLA and MP of the TDP prior to joining the PRP. His proposal to merge the Bheemunipatnam and Anakapalle in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) found many dissenting voices in Bheemunipatnam.

TDP ticket aspirant Anita Sakuru, who filed her nomination as a rebel, also threatens to mar his prospects. She was recently suspended from the party.

Mr. Seetharam does not seem to have the rebel trouble with the YSRC ticket aspirants like Korada Rajababu and P. Uma Rani rallying behind him in the election campaign.

“Bheemunipatnam will have to ultimately merge with GVMC and it would augur well for our town. Merger will not affect the historical importance of the town and it would also bring in development,” feels Sanyasi Rao, a tailor, who has his shop on the Main Road near the Clock Tower.

The Congress nominee Chenna Das does not seem to make much impact on the electorate in the anti-Congress mood following bifurcation of the state.

There are five other candidates in the fray.


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