TDP searching for a strong contender for Tirupati Parliament seat

Tirupati: Winning the reserved Tirupati Parliament seat was never a cakewalk for Telugu Desam Party which is evident from the fact that its candidate has won the seat only once so far. In 1984, six times MP Chinta Mohan won the seat on TDP ticket and later joined Congress party. Since then, party never emerged victorious here in the further eight elections. In those eight elections, Congress won the seat six times and YSRCP and BJP one time each. TDP did not field its candidates in 1999, 2004 and 2014 as it has given the seat to BJP as part of seats adjustment.

Now, the party has been finding it difficult to field a strong candidate here and has been searching and weighing various options. During the Parliamentary constituency review, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu could not arrive at a conclusion and kept the decision in abeyance. It was learnt that, former IPS officer K Jayaram, who contested as BJP candidate and lost in 2014 election, was under consideration along with former IAS officer and present Secretary of I&PR department B Ramanjaneyulu. Dr B Sukumar who has been running a multi-specialty hospital in Tirupati also threw his hat in the ring.

In 2014 elections, YSRCP candidate V Varaprasad Rao had defeated BJP's K Jayaram. In that election six-time MP Chinta Mohan secured only 33,333 votes. This time, Chinta Mohan will be contesting again and Varaprasad Rao is also expected to be in fray. TDP has to work hard to grab this seat, which they won almost 35 years back. For this, party sources felt that the selection of assembly candidates in all the seven segments will play a crucial role. Chief Minister has not come to a conclusion on the three segments – Tirupati, Srikalahasti and Satyavedu which fall under the Tirupati parliament seat.

Before Varla Ramaiah's contest in 2009, TDP had fielded its candidate Dr N Sivaprasad in 1998. Though, BJP contested here for three times it has won only once in 1999 and lost in 2004 and 2014. TDP has fielded new candidates in every election and with their defeat in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2009, proper leadership could not be developed in the Lok Sabha constituency, which has three assembly segments in Chitoor district and four in Nellore district. Whenever there was an alliance, the party has readily accepted to give away this seatto alliance partner as part ofseats adjustment by which the party could not develop strong leadership here.

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