Brothers to battle it out in Vijayawada

Kesineni Nani and his brother Chinni who were thick as thieves till 2019 are now pitted against each other after TDP gave its ticket to younger brother Chinni leaving Nani to join the YSRCP; the sibling rivalry becomes the talk of the town in the constituency known for its political dynamism

April 22, 2024 10:56 pm | Updated April 23, 2024 08:01 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

TDP Vijayawada Parliament Constituency MP candidate Kesineni Sivanath during his campaign in Vijayawada.

TDP Vijayawada Parliament Constituency MP candidate Kesineni Sivanath during his campaign in Vijayawada. | Photo Credit: G.N. Rao

The electoral battle between Kesineni Srinivas (alias Nani) and his brother Kesineni Shivnath (alias Chinni), fighting on YSRCP and TDP tickets, respectively, has been taking centre stage in Vijayawada, the hotbed of Andhra Pradesh politics.

The siblings who supported each other in their political endeavours are now pitted against each other. The TDP gave its ticket to the younger sibling, Chinni, following which the elder brother, Nani, a two-time MP, quit the TDP and joined the YSRCP.

Nani, who was elected on the TDP ticket in 2014 and 2019, resigned from the Parliament and the party this January and joined the YSRCP, which gave him the party ticket to contest from the Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency. 

On the other hand, Chinni has been groomed by the TDP for many months to ensure that the party retains its MP seat in the upcoming elections.

YSRCP Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) campaigning in Vijayawada.

YSRCP Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) campaigning in Vijayawada. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Roots in Vijayawada

Nani’s transition from a successful transport operator to a prominent politician was smooth in Vijayawada. In 2014, the first elections held after the State bifurcation, he won with a comfortable majority of 74,862 votes. In 2019, in spite of the Jagan wave, Nani held his ground and won the seat with a reduced majority of 8,726 votes. This made him one of the only three members of Telugu Desam elected to the Lok Sabha that year.

Kamma dominance

Historically, Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency has seen diverse political affiliations. Regardless of their party affiliations, the MPs elected from here are actively engaged in Central politics.

Dr. Kanuri Laksham Rao, popularly known as K.L. Rao, Padma Bhushan recipient, was a distinguished engineer and was the Union Irrigation Minister elected from this constituency. Similarly, Parvathaneni Upendra, who served as the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, was also elected from this constituency and was known to wield influence in the corridors of power at the Centre.

Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency was the bastion of the Congress, which won every election until 1977. However, the political scenario changed after the formation of the TDP. It is also known for majorly sending leaders belonging to the Kamma, a dominant community in the region, to the parliament.

Of the 17 elections held since 1952, Brahmin candidates won four times, a Kshatriya candidate won once, and the people elected leaders from the Kamma community from this constituency the remaining dozen times.

Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, Parvataneni Upendra, Lagadapati Rajagopal, Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) and Gadde Rammohan are a few Kamma leaders who became MPs from the constituency.

Interestingly, the Congress won only two of the seven Assembly segments under this Lok Sabha constituency when Lagadapati Rajagopal from the party won the MP seat in 2009.

Similarly, the TDP also won only MLA seat in 2019 even though Nani from the party managed to bag the MP seat.

Pepper spray fame

Vijayawada LS has the dubious distinction of sending an MP who used pepper spray on his fellow MPs in the Parliament. In February 2014, when the then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tried to table the bill for the formation of Telangana by carving the region out of the united Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Rajagopal of the Congress used pepper spray on his colleagues protesting the State bifurcation. 

Doom and gloom 

The shifting of the State capital from Amaravati has become a major issue in the constituency. In the recent past, the A. Kondur region of NTR district hit the headlines with the detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. The COVID-19 pandemic, GST imposition, demonetisation move, etc., are said to have impacted the region’s employment and economy. The MSMEs here are closing down, and all is not well even for the auto/motor sector, for which Vijayawada is a hub.

The Construction of flyovers and bypass roads has been going on for more than one and a half decades. The Gunadala flyover was started about 15 years ago. Similarly, Madhura Nagar under bridge works are happening at a snail’s pace. The government has not taken the initiative, though there is a demand for a second flyover at Ajithsingh Nagar. The land acquisition for a bypass road from  Kaza to Avutupalli near Gannavaram was completed about 14 years ago. The bypass is yet to be completed. There are no plans for East bypass road for the city

Construction of the Benz circle flyover began during the TDP rule between 2014 and 2019 and was completed during the YSRCP tenure. However, the flyover, as the road users say, leaves a bottleneck near Government General Hospital. There is a demand that the flyover be extended up to Nidamanuru or Gannavaram to ease the city’s traffic congestion. The Inner Ring Road is still under construction, road networks remain undeveloped, and the metro rail and the proposed waterway have remained on paper only.

The construction work on the bridge across the River Krishna from Vaikunthapuram to Damulur has yet to be completed. The bridge connects the Capital, Amaravati, with the Krishna (West) district. 

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