Keen tussle in Castor town
Amudalavalasa: It’s called Amudalavalasa but you don’t find too many castor (amudalu) plantations in this corner of north coastal Andhra. But it’s an interesting name which derives from its name from Asokan times. It was then called Herandapuram, heranda in Sanskrit meaning castor.
But it has weightlifters. Karanam Malleswari hails from Amudalavalasa. So does Tammineni Sitaram, a body builder of repute. Until 2004, Sitaram was the TDP strong man in this Assembly constituency, an anti-Congress bastion under the influence of Sardar Gouthu Latchanna. The fort fell to the Congress in 2004, swept by a tsunami of anger against Chandrababu Naidu’s urban-centric policies. As a representative of these policies, Sitaram bore the brunt of this market town’s wrath against Vision 2020 in which it had no place.
Boddepally Satyavati was the Congress’ thin edge of the wedge then. She won the election from Sitaram by about 3,500 votes. Now she’s back to keep her gains.
For Sitaram, the 2004 defeat was a double disaster. He had been vying with Yerran Naidu for leadership of the TDP in Srikakulam district. Yerran won against the wave in 2004 and Sitaram lost. The wily Yerran proceeded to elbow Sitaram out of the good graces of Chandrababu Naidu since then. It was not long before Sitaram decided to look for a safer haven, and it came in the form of the Praja Rajyam Party of Chiranjeevi. He jumped, and is now in the fray against his nemesis Satyavati and the TDP’s Kuna Ravi Kumar.
He has a point to prove. It will not be easy. If it were a straight fight between him and Satyavati again, he might have been able to retrieve his lost vote. But this being a triangular contest now, it is not certain who is going to benefit from the three-way division of the vote. The anti-incumbency vote, of which there is little evidence, will go evenly to the TDP and the Praja Rajyam. If Sitaram does not pull a good number of votes on the strength of his own network here, Satyavati may be able to benefit from the vote split and sail through again.
Chiranjeevi put in a campaign appearance here to swing the balance in Sitaram’s favour and the crowds were good. But so were they for the TDP’s film stars Balakrishna and Jr NTR.
From Satyavathi’s perspective, she will be hoping to retain a major component of the vote she won in 2004 on the strength of the Congress party’s farmer-friendly policies. During the last five years, the Congress has strengthened its fortifications in several mandals in this constituencies by ensuring effective delivery of its welfare goodies.
As things stand in the final days of the campaign, the fight seems to be mainly between Satyavati and Sitaram.