Can Amara Raja Batteries’ chief energise his constituency?

Providing education, bridging skill gaps, catalysing investments and creating a favourable ecosystem for economic growth…This is not the agenda for an industry meet, but the poll promises of Galla Jayadev, MD of the ₹3,500-crore Amara Raja Batteries Ltd.

Jayadev is the TDP candidate for the Guntur parliamentary constituency, which goes to polls on Wednesday. “The reason for my joining politics is the neglect of these vital aspects for the past 10 years. I know what exactly this region needs now,” Jayadev, former head of the CII’s AP Chapter, told Business Line. He has a tough opponent in V Balashowrey of the YSR Congress. A close confidant of former CM Rajasekhara Reddy, this erstwhile Congress leader enjoys the support of the backward classes and minorities.

The second hurdle for Jayadev is that he is battling it out far from his home turf of Chittoor district.

Also, he is contesting on a TDP ticket while his family has been loyal to the Congress for seven decades.

His grandfather P Rajagopala Naidu was a Congress MP and his mother Galla Aruna Kumari a State minister.

Guntur, however, is the stronghold of his in-laws. His father-in-law Gattamaneni Krishna is a yesteryear superstar while his brother-in-law Mahesh Babu is the current Tollywood rage. Their support is boosting his chances.

Jayadev is not a total greenhorn in politics. “I have been the campaign manager for my mother, a successful political leader with 20 years standing in Chittoor. The only difference now is that I am at the centre of activity,” he said.

The fitness freak has brought management techniques into his campaign style.

Youth support, a high literacy rate in the region and a caste advantage should work in his favour, he said.

Issues aplenty

Guntur, known for its tobacco, chillies, cotton, education and healthcare, is beset with various problems.

“For the past 10 years, there has been no safe drinking water supply in most parts and nobody bothered with sanitation and other infrastructure here. We want somebody to change this,” said Sheikh Ghouse, a welder at Magdhoomnagar, Old Guntur.

The youth, on the other hand, want jobs. “We have a lot of colleges here but most of the graduates/post graduates are earning their livelihood by home tuitions and other means.

“Industries should come to Andhra Pradesh as government jobs are dwindling,” said Bandla Ramesh, a post-graduate from Hindu College.

(This article was published on May 5, 2014)
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