TDP fields MLA's widow in Vuyyur

VIJAYAWADA, AUG. 30. Mrs. Vijayalakshmi, widow of Anne Babu Rao, today filed her nomination to contest as Telugu Desam Party candidate in the byelection for the Vuyyur assembly seat slated for September 20, even as the Congress is groping in the dark unable to find a suitable candidate to enter the fray.

The byelection was caused by the death of Anne Babu Rao, who was elected to the Assembly from Vuyyur three times in 1985, 1994 and 1999. Keeping its tradition, the TDP considered only the names of the kin of Babu Rao for fielding in the byelection in its bid to win the seat with the help of sympathy factor.

The Congress, which has performed well in the recently concluded local body elections by winning majority of the mandals and almost half of the ZPTCs in Krishna district, finds itself in a quandary now. Mr. Vangaveeti Sobhana Chalapathi Rao, who contested as Congress candidate in the 1999 elections and lost, declined to contest now. Mr Devineni Rajasekhar Nehru, former minister, too nipped the proposal in the bud, saying he has no intention to move over from his pocket borough Kankipadu to neighbouring Vuyyur.

Mr. Chalapathi Rao suggested that Mr. K. Rosaiah, senior Congress leader, contest from Vuyyur so that he could enter the Assembly and give a tough time to the TDP Government. The suggestion was made keeping in view the sizeable Vysya population in Vuyyur. The DCC too felt that Mr Rosaiah would be an ideal candidate. But Mr Rosaiah stoutly opposed the proposal saying that his entry would make the election a prestigeous one and TDP would spare no efforts to defeat him. Reports indicate that PCC is trying to persuade Mr Rosaiah. If he does not relent, the mantle may fall on Mr. K.P. Sarathi, son of Mr Reddaiah, former MP.

TDP leaders are confident of winning the seat. They point out that the TDP could win all ZPTCs lying in Vuyyur assembly constituency and shared the honours only with Nandigama. Also, the goodwill of Babu Rao as a soft-spoken and non-controversial politician would give their candidate an added advantage, they feel. But Congress leaders pooh-pooh this saying the TDP won Vuyyur panchayat with a bare margin of 155 votes. Giving a breather to the Congress, Mr. Chalasani Venkateswara Rao, alias Pandu, who has emerged a force to reckon with in Vuyyur, did not turn up when the TDP candidate filed her nomination today. Mr. Venkateswara Rao worked hard for the success of TDP candidates in the recent local body elections. He wished that TDP would give him the ticket but in vain. The TDP never considered his case making him sulk.

Accompanied by Mr. Vadde Sobhanadreswara Rao and Mr Nadikuditi Narasimha Rao, ministers, Mr Kadiala Raghava Rao, former Zilla Parishad chairman, Mr Y.V. Rajendra Prasad, ZPTC member and former chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Sarpanches Association, Mrs Vijayalakshmi went to the MRO office at Vuyyru today and filed her nomination to Mr Narasinga Rao, District Cooperative Officer who is the Returning Officer.

The District Collector, Mr. B.R. Meena, told newspersons that electronic voting machines would be used in the byelection for Vuyyur assembly seat.