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Campaigns dull affair for NTR's daughter

Daggubati Purandheswari

Daggubati Purandheswari of the BJP waves to empty roadsides and uninterested by-standers in the hot sun on the streets of Visakhapatnam.

The picture does not change even as the date of polling is fast approaching.

N T Rama Rao's daughter, formerly a Union minister in the UPA government, has shifted her loyalty to the BJP and is contesting from the port city, where former BJP state unit president K Haribabu is the sitting MP.

Haribabu had defeated Y S Vijayamma, the mother of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy to become the MP.

However, his proximity with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had cost him the post. With Haribabu not contesting, Purandheswari, who represented Visakhapatnam in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, was finally selected.

After the TDP broke up with the national party, there has been an anti-BJP sentiment in the state, and Purandheswari is fighting the elections without the mass support provided by the regional party.

"I don't bring the value system of the Congress into the BJP. I fight my battles with full might," she said when asked what it's like being in the BJP.

She is depending on the sizeable North- and east-Indian population of Visakhapatnam.

She is pitted against Sri Bharat, the second son-in-law of her brother Nandamuri Balakrishna, who is the TDP MLA from Hindupur.

Sri Bharat is the grandson of former Visakhapatnam MP M V V S Murty. Bharat, a well-educated man, also has the backing of the rich Kamma community in the city.

Bharat's tough contest is with M V V Satyanarayana of the YSRCP, who is from the same caste as him.

The Jana Sena candidate here is former Joint Director of CBI, V V Lakshmi Narayana, who is popular among the educated and upper-middle classes.

He is the one who investigated the quid pro quo cases of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

In the changed scenario of the TDP and BJP contesting separately, and with the possibility that YSRCP candidates will win in at least five Assembly segments here — Visakha South, Visakha North, Visakha West, Bhimili and S Kota — there is a possibility that the YSRCP will take the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat.

The Visakhapatnam voter's dilemma is now this: which of these four outsiders must I choose?

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