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It’s quite evident that BJP Rajya Sabha member GVL Narasimha Rao has been chanting the “Vizag mantra” for a year now. And with good reason.
Nominated to the Upper House of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, his term will come to an end before the next general election in 2024, and GVL is looking at Vizag to help him in the next leg of his political career.
It is no secret that he is eying the party’s Lok Sabha ticket from Vizag, given how he raises questions related to the city, also known as Visakhapatnam, and the north Andhra region in Parliament.
But now sources in the BJP tell South First that he is going to have tough competition on this front.
Former Union minister Daggubati Purandeswari is said to be eying the Vizag Lok Sabha seat and it is learnt she has been quite vocal about it with the BJP’s central leadership.
Purandeswari won from the Vizag Lok Sabha constituency in the 2009 polls on a Congress ticket, and even went on to become a Union minister in then prime minister Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet.
Later, in the altered scenario after the state’s bifurcation — where the Congress lost all relevance — she defected to BJP. At that time, too, she aspired for a Vizag Lok Sabha ticket for the 2014 election.
But with the blessings of a senior BJP leader, the ticket went to Kambhampati Hari Babu who, with the support of the TDP, won the seat trouncing the YSRCP candidate and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s mother YS Vijayalakshmi.
Purandeswari instead contested from Rajampeta in Rayalaseema and lost to YSRCP candidate Peddireddy Mithun Reddy.
But then, in the 2019 polls, she finally got the BJP ticket for the Vizag Lok Sabha — only to lose miserably, polling only 33,892 votes, losing her deposit, and also coming in fourth after the YSRCP, the TDP and even Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party.
So the question is: Will she once again get an opportunity to contest from Vizag — or whether GVL will bag the BJP’s nomination?
Interestingly, neither GVL nor Purandeswari have any connection to the City of Destiny. Both are rank outsiders. Quite unlike sitting MP of the YSRCP, MVV Satyanarayana, who is a well-entrenched local builder.