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Vijayawada MPs-Harin to Rajgopal

Vijayawada MPs-Harin to Rajgopal
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Vijayawada MPs-Harin to Rajgopal, Right from a poet Harindranath Chattopadhyaya to Pepper spray ‘Brahmastram’-wielding firebrand Rajagopal.

Vijayawada, which has been a very politically sensitive place, has so far sent to Parliament persons of various backgrounds and abilities, from very eminent to the average, right from a poet Harindranath Chattopadhyaya to Pepper spray ‘Brahmastram’-wielding firebrand Rajagopal. It had the unique distinction of sending to the first Lok Sabha in 1952, a renowned poet and actor, brother of an illustrious leader of freedom movement Sarojini Naidu, who was very close to the Father of the Nation. He contested on the Communist party ticket and won with a fair margin. Many eminent leaders were in that Lok Sabha and some of them made a mark as outstanding parliamentarians. The only poet among them, Harin, as he was popularly known, used to regale the members with his spontaneous lyrical outpourings in his characteristic sing-song fashion, relieving the tedium of serious business in the house making even Nehru join others in enjoying his impromptu verses. He was an utter stranger to Vijayawada when he came here to contest. But still, the large-hearted citizens cutting across all narrow considerations elected him as their representative in the first Lok Sabha where he spent five years happy singing. He visited his constituency only twice or thrice not able to stand the heat and dust of the place as he had just returned from Russia very much impressed by its cleanliness everywhere. I attended one of his meetings where he spoke about Russia and very little about the problems in this place. It is still fresh in memory that he spoke of the toilets there for the workers made of green and red marble and so on. His nephew, Sarojini Naidu’s son, Dr Jai Soorya, an eminent homoeopath was also in the first Lok Sabha having been elected from Medak as PDF candidate.

In 1957, Dr K Atchamamba, well-known medical practitioner from the place, who had resigned from the Communist Party earlier contested as Congress candidate and won over her communist rival Tammina Pothuraju narrowly with a majority of 30,000 votes. While serving as MP she passed away in 1961. A firebrand communist in her earlier years, she used to spit fire in her speeches, whenever she took up the cause of the women and downtrodden.

In 1962, Dr K L Rao, her close relation, came in her place. He defeated his communist opponent Nanduri Prasad Rao, who was also related to him. An eminent engineer, who retired after a distinguished service in Government, Dr Rao was appointed Union Minister for Power in the Nehru’s Cabinet. Dr Rao created history in 1967, when he was elected unopposed supported by all the parties, including communists for his brilliance and non-controversial nature. He continued as Minister in Indira Gandhi Cabinet also. It was pointed out in the press prominently that in doing that honour Vijayawada has done to him which even Allahabad had not done to Nehru or Ahmedabad to Patel.

In 1971, he defeated the Communist candidate Dasari Nagabhushanam and went to the Lok Sabha for the third time in succession a record not broken by anyone so far. After very eminent local candidates represented the city for 20 years, then came a situation when an outsider Gode Murahari was sent by the Congress and he won with a slender majority against Dasari Nagabhushanam and Gottipati Muralimohan. Murahari became the Lok Sabha Speaker thus the city receiving due recognition. Later, when there was severe power shortage in the country, Indira Gandhi dropped Dr K L Rao from the Cabinet making him a scapegoat for the situation. He was hurt and when Janata Party was formed after her dare-devil imposition of Emergency, he entered the fray as Janata candidate when he was in failing health and he was defeated by a large margin by Congress candidate Chennupati Vidya, a popular social worker and daughter of atheist leader Gora. It was in 1952, a communist was elected and in all the subsequent elections the Congress won the seat till Vadde Sobhanadreswara Rao of Telugu Desam was elected. In the subsequent elections, Gadde Rammohan Rao won and Parvataneni Upendra and Lagadapati Rajagopal won the elections for two terms.

We have a completely different picture in the 2014 elections in which TDP-BJP candidate Kesineni Nani, YSR Congress Koneru Rajendra Prasad and Congress party Devineni Avinash are the main contestants. They are all young and are facing elections for the first time. Whoever wins and goes to the Lok Sabha will have a challenging task as he will be representing the capital city after the bifurcation as Vijayawada has all the requirements to emerge as a sure winner.

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