Aspirants beware! Voters tilt the scales here

VIJAYAWADA, MARCH 15. But for two occasions out of a dozen elections held since 1955, Vuyyur Assembly constituency in Krishna district has not been known for returning candidates for the second time. Only Kakani Venkataratnam (1955 and 1962) and Anne Babu Rao (1994 and 1999) were elected for a second consecutive term from this constituency. Voters in the constituency had shown time and again that they would not hesitate to change their representative if they were not satisfied with their performance. Venkataratnam, who was a Minister in the Cabinets of Kasu Brahmananda Reddy and P.V.Narasimha Rao, defeated CPI candidates, D.Anasuya and K.Gopal with margins of 1,239 votes and 3,201 votes in 1955 and 1962 respectively. He failed to get a hat-trick in 1967 when he was defeated by an independent candidate, K.Venkateswara Rao, with a margin of 1,691 votes. Except for these two instances, no party won the Assembly polls consecutively. Venkataratnam defeated an independent candidate, Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao (now Minister in the Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet) by a margin of 7,765 votes in 1972. In the by-elections necessitated by his death, another independent candidate, Kanakamedala Ranga Rao, defeated Venkataratnam's son and Congress candidate, Kakani Ram Mohana Rao, by 5,225 votes in 1974. The Janata party candidate, Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, was elected to the Assembly by defeating the Congress candidate, Kakani Rama Mohana Rao, by a 7,027 majority in 1978.

In the next elections, the Congress candidate, K.P.Reddaiah, defeated Kakani Rama Mohana Rao, who joined the TDP, with a margin of 3,092 votes in 1983. The TDP candidate, Anne Babu Rao, defeated the Congress candidate, M. Subba Reddy, with a margin of 7,750 votes in 1985. Babu Rao was defeated by the Congress candidate, Vangaveeti Sobhana Chalapathi Rao, with a margin of 4,644 votes in 1989.

However, Mr. Chalapathi Rao was defeated by Babu Rao with a margin of 12,281 votes in 1994. Babu Rao won again in 1999 trouncing his nearest rival and a Congress rebel, Chalasani Venkateswara Rao alias Pandu, with a slender margin of 1,020 votes.

In the byelections that followed his death, Babu Rao's widow, Vijayalakshmi, defeated the Congress candidate, K.Parthasarathi, with a margin of 16,451 votes in 2001. The Congress rebel, Chalasani Venkateswara Rao (Pandu) who polled 32,308 votes fared better than official nominee of the party, Mr. Chalapati Rao, who polled only 15,378 votes in the 1999 polls.

Pandu has since changed his loyalties to the TDP and is aspiring for the ticket this time. Mr.Sobhanadreeswara Rao, who has a following in this constituency, is said to be still nursing the idea of coming back to Vuyyur from Mylavaram, from where he was elected in 1999.

But, his statement denouncing the speculation on his shift is being taken as a political one by his adversaries. With the former president of the AP Sarpanches Association, Y.B.Rajendra Prasad, also aspiring for the TDP ticket, the party is likely to face rebel trouble here. For the Congress, there is a no dearth of aspirants.

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