Visakhapatnam to witness contest between YSR Congress, BJP
Visakhapatnam: All eyes are on the port city Visakhapatnam since YS Vijayamma, who is YSR Congress honorary president as well as widow of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, is seeking election to the Lok Sabha from this constituency.
She faces Kambhampati Haribabu, president of the Andhra Pradesh unit of BJP, in what would be a straight fight between the two candidates.
Expelled Congress MP from Anakapalle and former Mayor of Visakhapatnam Sabbam Hari is contesting on behalf of the Jai Samaikyaandhra Party while the Congress has put up an information technology company head Bolisetti Satyanarayana, who is a political novice.
A cosmopolitan city, Visakhapatnam is the largest city in the Seemandhra region and is a predominantly urban constituency with over 16.7 lakh voters.
The South, East, North, West segments of Visakhapatnam city, Gajuwaka and Bheemunipatnam (Bheemili) are the urban assembly segments, while Srungavarapu Kota in neighbouring Vizianagaram district is the lone rural segment under Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha constituency.
Stalwarts like Tenneti Viswanadham, PVG Raju represented the constituency, while in recent years, the likes of former CM Nedurumalli Janardhan Reddy and former Union Minister Daggubati Purandeswari won the seat.
Purandeswari won the 2009 election as a Congress candidate, but left the party in March in protest against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Since there is a lot of euphoria about the electoral prospects of the YSR Congress in Seemandhra, Vijayamma is being considered a "favourite" to trounce Haribabu, who is being supported by the Telugu Desam Party and the newly-formed Jana Sena headed by Chiranjeevi`s brother and movie actor Pawan Kalyan.
The hopes of the YSR Congress are pinned solely on the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy`s image, while the BJP nominee is banking on the "Modi wave".
"YSR had a special interest in the development of Visakhapatnam and had launched many initiatives as Chief Minister. I will carry the process forward," Vijayamma has promised voters.
Haribabu, a former professor of engineering in Andhra University, enjoys a good reputation and a clean image, but doesn`t enjoy any rapport with the people despite serving as an MLA once.
However, he has many plans for Visakhapatnam, which is expected to become a major investment destination in the next five to ten years after bifurcation.
"Development of sectors like information technology, tourism and marine industries will be the focus areas. In the next five years, Vizag should become the prime destination for all," Haribabu said.
On the other hand, Vijayamma has tried to lure voters by saying that only her son Jaganmohan Reddy, on becoming Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, could carry forward the various welfare schemes initiated by her late husband.
On her part, she has promised a railway zone for Visakhapatnam, besides a metro rail project and Rs 3,000 as compensation per family to fishermen who could not venture into the sea due to adverse conditions.
Jai Samaikhyandhra Party has fielded Sabbam Hari as its candidate from Visakhapatnam, but he may end up as an "also ran" along with Satyanarayana of the Congress.
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