Tirupati: The Tirupati has remained out of reach for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) for over three decades now. The last and the only time it had won the Lok Sabha seat was in 1984 by Chinta Mohan.
Chinta Mohan later switched to Congress and won from it five times (1989, 1991, 1998, 2004, 2009).
This time the TDP is banking heavily on former Union minister and four-time MP Panabaka Lakshmi. Interestingly, this is the first time that a woman candidate has been made to contest from the seat, though she is finding the going tough.
Panabaka Lakshmi, speaking to an English daily, expressed confidence on her win this time. She said that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's vision and her experience of contesting seven LS seats will help her break the jinx. However, she knows she has a tough battle on hand with a popular wave favouring the YSRCP sweeping across the state.
She promised to turn into reality the establishment of Dugirajapatnam port in Nellore district, adding she will revive the works of Gudur-Dugirajapatnam railway line which was sanctioned during her stint as union minister and later shelved. She is silent however, on the TDP’s neglect of this issue. Panabaka Lakshmi claims that the CM has positively responded to the demand for a lift irrigation scheme connecting Telugu Ganga to meet the needs in Satyavedu. Voters say, what was he doing all these months and years?
Although there are 14 parties in the fray, the main contest is between TDP and the YRS Congress Party.
YSRCP has fielded Balli Durga Prasad, another Nellorean who is a four-time MLA from Gudur.