Vijayawada

Novice all set to take on a titan here

The TDP has given ticket to Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao to contest from the Mylavaram Assembly constituency for the third consecutive time.

In 2009, Mr. Umamaheswara Rao defeated Appasani Sandeep, a novice who was given ticket by the Congress.

In 2014, Mr. Umamaheswara Rao defeated a relatively weak YSRCP candidate and former MLA Jogi Ramesh.

The third time, the Minister is pitted against old rival Vasantha Krishna Prasad, son of former Home Minister Vasantha Nageswara Rao.

An active member of the TDP even when it is not in power, Mr. Umamaheswara Rao has, in the past five years, emerged as a titan, acting as the right-hand man of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, sharing the burden of executing the Polavaram project and the triumph of completing the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation project in the stipulated time.

He is also the party’s primary cannon against Leader of the Opposition Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Once a Left bastion

Mylavaram was once a bastion of the united CPI. Its candidate V. Visweswara Rao was elected from the constituency in 1955 and 1962.

Later, Congress candidate Chanumolu Venkata Rao was the favourite of the voters. He was elected five times to the Assembly from the seat.

The voters have elected TDP candidates five times, and Mr. Umamaheswara Rao is the only candidate to be elected two times in a row.

In the post bifurcation scenario, Mr. Sandeep polled less than 3,000 votes (less than 2%) and Mr. Jogi Ramesh 86,970 (43.2%).

One prominent TDP candidate elected from the constituency before Mr. Umamaheswara Rao was former Agriculture Minister Vadde Sobhandreeswara Rao.

Arid zone

As an arid constituency, Mylavaram has many issues.

Ever since bifurcation, little or no water has been reaching the Third Zone from the Nagarjuna Sagar Project.

All water is being reportedly drawn from the Nagarjuna Sagar Left Canal by the farmers in Telangana before it flows through the sibling State and reaches the Andhra border.

Though the Krishna is close to the constituency, several villages are still plagued by drinking water shortage.

“Healthcare infrastructure is still poor,” Mr. Krishna Prasad says.

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao says Telangana is creating hurdles for the Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation scheme, which is conceived to lift the surplus Godavari waters.

“The project will be completed this year, and Mylavaram would be the biggest beneficiary,” the Minister says.

Anti-incumbency

The YSRCP plans to capitalise on the anti-incumbency factor, which is said to have reached a new high as Mr. Umamaheswara Rao completed 10 years as MLA representing the constituency.

The YSRCP, which is eager to defeat Mr. Umamaheswara Rao, whom it considers as a “pain in its neck,” is grooming Mr. Krishna Prasad as a “giant killer.”

The party has decided to implement a “no-holds-barred” strategy to vanquish the Minister.

A challenge before the Minister is keeping his flock together and preventing it from succumbing to the “enticements” of the rival candidates.

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao and Mr. Krishna Prasad are old rivals.

They had contested against each other in 1999 in the neighbouring Nandigama constituency. Mr. Rao bested his rival by over over 23,000 votes then.

Asked about the issues in the constituency, the YSRCP candidate’s father, Mr. Nageswara Rao, said, “The Minister’s failure to address the problems of the people is our plus point.”

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 6:34:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/novice-all-set-to-take-on-a-titan-here/article26681765.ece

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