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It's Jhansi vs Sribharat in high-profile Vizag

It's Jhansi vs Sribharat in high-profile Vizag

A direct close fight is on the cards between two highly-educated leaders from prominent political families in the high-profile Visakhapatnam constituency.

Botcha Jhansi Lakshmi of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YRSCP) will take on Sribharat Mathukumilli of the TDP who finished runner-up with the loss by a narrow margin in 2019.

Jhansi is the wife of state education minister Botcha Satyanarayana while Sribharat is the grandson of late MVVS Murthi, a former TDP MP.

He is also the son-in-law of TDP MLA and Tollywood actor N. Balakrishna and co-brother of TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh, son of TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu.

After keeping a low profile for nearly one decade, Jhansi is looking to politically bounce back while Sribharat, despite the loss on his debut, is going all out for a win this time.

With YSRCP reiterating its commitment to make Visakhapatnam the administrative capital of the state, the poll battle in the coastal city this time has assumed more significance.

YSRCP President and Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy chose Jhansi, a two-time MP, in place of sitting MP MVV Satyanarayana.

Unfazed by the criticism that the parties are fielding non-locals in Visakhapatnam, the YSRCP fielded the former MP from Bobbili and Vizianagaram.

Botcha Satyanarayana, who headed the Congress party in combined Andhra Pradesh and also served as minister in the Cabinet of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s father YSR, is a strong leader from north coastal Andhra.

In 2004 Jhansi had suffered a defeat from Bobbili, a seat won by her husband in 1999. However, in the bye-election held in 2006, she emerged victorious, though by a miniscule margin of 157 votes.

In 2009, she was elected from Vizianagaram. However, she came a poor third in 2014, when the Congress faced a humiliating defeat across the state due to public anger over bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

In 2015, the couple joined YSRCP. Botcha Jhansi denies that she is a non-local in Visakhapatnam. She claimed that Visakhapatnam was her maternal home and she moved to Vizianagaram after marriage.

During the campaign, she has been highlighting the priority the YSRCP government has been giving to the development of Visakhapatnam and its decision to make the port city the administrative capital of the state.

The proposed privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) is one of the major issues in the elections.

The YSRCP candidate has assured VSP workers that she would exert pressure on the Centre to withdraw the proposal.

Jhansi, who did MA in philosophy, also has a doctorate in philosophy. The 61-year old's main opponent Sribharat is also highly educated. President of GITAM (Deemed University), the 35-year-old is an alumni of Stanford University. He did Masters of Arts in education and also Master of Business Administration.

During the campaign, TDP leaders have been accusing the YSRCP leaders of promoting land mafia in the port city.

TDP President and former Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu claimed that while the TDP promoted Visakhapatnam as an IT and economic capital, Jagan Mohan Reddy turned it into a centre for settlements and land encroachments.

There are 33 candidates in the fray in Visakhapatnam, which has over 18 lakh voters. However, it is likely to be a direct fight between YSRCP and TDP candidates.

With the TDP, Jana Sena Party and BJP entering an electoral alliance, it’s going to be a straight fight in this prestigious constituency spread over the port city of Visakhapatnam, its suburbs and rural areas in neighbouring Vizianagaram District.

In 2019, the constituency witnessed a multi-cornered contest. Candidates of five major parties were in the fray. Satyanarayana of YSRCP was elected with a margin of 4,414 votes over his nearest rival Sribharat of the TDP.

The YSRCP candidate had polled 4,36,906 votes while Sribharat had secured 4,32,492 votes.

VV Lakhsminarayana, a former IPS officer who served as Joint Director of the CBI, had contested as Jana Sena candidate and finished third by polling 2,88,874 votes.

D. Purandeswari, a former Union Minister and daughter of TDP founder and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, NT Rama Rao, had contested as the candidate of the BJP, a party which she joined after quitting the Congress following Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation in 2014.

She, however, finished a poor fourth with only 33,892 votes. Congress party’s P. Ramanikumari had secured only 14,633 votes, less than NOTA votes.

In 2014, BJP’s K. Haribabu was elected from Visakhapatnam and this was one of the two Lok Sabha seats bagged by the BJP, which then fought the polls in alliance with the TDP.

He had defeated Jagan Mohan Reddy’s mother YS Vijayamma.

Visakhapatnam had traditionally been a Congress stronghold till 1984 when it was wrested by the TDP. The regional party won it again in 1991 and 1999.

With the Congress drawing a blank in the 2014 elections due to public wrath over the bifurcation, the BJP in alliance with TDP captured Visakhapatnam. Out of seven Assembly segments under Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha, TDP had won four seats and YSRCP the remaining three.


Tags: Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha elections Botsa Jhansi Sribharat