With the Telugu Desam Party keen on fielding a candidate from Arya Vysya community from Guntur East Assembly constituency, a few leaders have thrown their hats in the ring.
By opting for a non-Muslim candidate, the party seemed to have taken a calculated risk. It was N.T.Rama Rao who fielded a minority candidate for the first time in 1983 from this segment. Pathan Umar Khan (Bude Khan), a member of the then NTR city fans association, had won the polls by a whopping majority and since then, it has been a ritual for both the TDP and Congress to field candidates from minority community from Guntur East segment.
In the successive elections, Md. Jani (Congress) and S.M Ziauddin (TDP) won two terms each. Sk. Subhani (Congress) had turned the tables on the TDP by winning by a record majority in 2004 and Mastan Vali scraped through in a triangular contest in 2009.
But in the run up to the general elections, the TDP is eyeing cashing in on the influential Vysya community, who are present in sizeable number in the Guntur East Assembly constituency. The last Vysya leader from Guntur to have won an Assembly election was Tellakula Jalaiah.
Among industrialists who are in the race are Mittapalli Umamaheswara Rao, president of the Indian Tobacco Association, Grandhi Kantha Rao, vice-chairman of the Crane Group of Companies, Padarthi Ramesh Gandhi and M. Giridhara Rao.
In the race
Mr. Umamaheswara Rao earlier served as municipal councillor during 1981-1986 and is now the executive member of the Arya Vysya Maha Sabha.
Mr. Kantha Rao is the son of Grandhi `Crane’ Subba Rao while Ramesh Gandhi served as the president of the City Congress in the past. The TDP president is expected to finalise the candidate in a day or two. Sources said that the party was eliciting opinion of people of the constituency through IVRS.
The TDP is keen on fielding a non-minority candidate from the segment