It’s battle of businessmen for Vijayawada LS seat

G Naga Sridhar Vijayawada | Updated on March 28, 2019

It’s business unusual in the Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency as two local business tycoons are pitted against each other in the battle of the ballot.

The sitting MP Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) has been a long-standing local businessman and a big name till recently in travels and transport segment. He now claims he has wound up the travel business due to some problems.

His main rival from YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) is the US-returnee Potuluri Vara Prasad, a leading film producer. He is credited with constructing the first mall in the city, PVP mall.

Mercantile milieu

The Assembly segments – Mylavaram, Vijayawada East, Nandigama, Tiruvuru, Vijayawada Central, Vijayawada West, Jaggayyapeta – have been connected with many businesses and industries, including cement.

While TDP candidate Srinivas, popularly known as Nani, is banking on the development plank of the government, citing ongoing works like a flyover near Kanakadurga temple (Durgamma Varadhi) and an expressway from Vijayawada to Machlipatnam (which is almost completed) as proof to his claims, YSRCP is hoping for anti-establishment vote as well as “lack of development.”

The Durgamma Varadhi has not been completed even after four years, causing serious obstruction to traffic in the heart of the city, they claim.

The main plank of Prasad’s campaign has been to “unleash the power of the common man” and to make Vijayawada a good place for employment and career counselling. In view of his Tollywood connections, he is also promising to make Vijayawada an entertainment hub.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and Jana Sena Party have fielded Dileep Kilaru and M Prasad Babu, respectively. But the contest will be mainly between TDP and YSR CP.

Main issues

Caste has always been a dynamic factor in Vijayawada, which is a stronghold of the Kamma community, followed by Kapus, Reddys, Christians, Brahmins and backward castes.

In 2014 elections, caste dynamics worked in favour of TDP but now YSRCP is pinning hopes on Christian votes and backward castes' support. It is also expecting Brahamins to vote for it in view of the anti-Modi/BJP stance of the ruling party.

The civic infrastructure is in bad shape in Vijayawada as suddenly it has to bear the pressure of building the State capital next door.

“Even after completion of Amaravati’s construction, it will only remain as an administrative capital as people will prefer to stay mostly in Vijayawada in view of its connectivity and other facilities,” M Parabrahmam, who is engaged in logistics business in the city, told BusinessLine.

The traffic congestion and other urban problems being felt in a semi-urban setup in the city is expected to influence over 15 lakh voters’ decision in the elections to be held on April 11.

Published on March 28, 2019

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