There is a TDP wave in this Lok Sabha constituency, where the party’s sitting MP has gained a legendary status after unexpectedly falling sick in Lok Sabha on the day AP reorganisation Bill was taken up for business.
Konakalla Narayana (63) suffered a stroke in Parliament when Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal was wielding pepper spray. Television channels replayed the footage of a limp Narayana aka PeddaBabu being taken to a waiting ambulance from Parliament.
On the same day, 17 members of Lok Sabha from Andhra Pradesh, including Narayana, were suspended.
Narayana, who survived the massive stroke and a bypass surgery, was given the ticket to contest from Machilipatnam for the third time despite being declared unfit to campaign.
“In fact, Peddababu was facing anti-incumbency against a surging YSR Congress wave, but his pro-Samaikyandhra stance made him a martyr,” said local TDP leader and former municipal chairman Batchula Arjunudu.
“There is a deep feeling of hurt in the voters here following that incident and Congress had a tough time even to find a candidate to file nominations,” Arjunudu added.
TDP is also counting on Konakalla’s reputation as saviour following his effort to airlift those from Andhra Pradesh who were stranded in Uttarakhand after the flash floods.
Keeping his word, Naidu spearheaded the campaign for the ailing MP covering most of the LS segment that includes Machilipatnam, Pedana, Gudivada, Gannavaram, Pamarru, Avanigadda and Penamaluru.
His road shows attracted huge crowds, evidence that people are prepared to overlook the party’s tacit support to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
“It was Naidu who gave the letter to Pranab Mukherjee that TDP has no objections about bifurcation,” reminds Borra Vithal, former Urban Bank Chairman and YSR Congress leader, who is sure that the local people would teach TDP a lesson in the elections.
Jagan’s party has fielded former minister Kolusu Parthasarathi for the Lok Sabha seat, despite protests from Machilipatnam assembly segment candidate Perni Nani.
Jagan not only admitted Kolusu and former deputy speaker Buragadda Vedvyas into the party, but handed them seats.
Perni and Vedvyas, who is contesting from Pedana, belong to the Kapu caste, but Jagan has unwittingly triggered a crises by offering seats to last minute entrants to the party.
As a result, Perni ended up with the Assembly seat. Announcing he was bankrupt and cannot bear the poll expenditure, he went underground for two days, but resurfaced to file his nominations after Jagan’s assurance that things would be taken care.
Kolusu has a pending FERA violation case against him, which has prompted TDP to call for his disqualification. Indeed, the open talk of money by YSR Congress candidates has left a negative feeling among local voters here.