All eyes are now on which assembly constituency in Andhra Pradesh? Pat comes the reply - Mangalagiri. This small town in Guntur district is now theatre of a very interesting political debate. The reason? Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's only son and political heir apparent Nara Lokesh is contesting from there.
Chandrababu Naidu wants Lokesh to enter the AP assembly as an MLA and then take over chief miistership from him. He knows he can't get popular appeal as an MLC. So, he has done a slew of surveys for a safe seat for Lokesh and finally zeroed in on Mangalagiri. The TDP is confident that the fast-paced development of the area after Amaravati was made AP capital, the development of infrastructure and the soaring realty would ensure a facile win for Lokesh. Mangalagiri has now emerged as a major hub because of the showrooms of major automobiles, setting up of the TDP office and the government offices. All these will help the TDP, feels Chandrababu.
But, YSRCP's Alla Ramakrishna Reddy is no pushover. He has a strong base and won by 12 votes in 2014, when there was a pro-TDP wave. Over the years, he consolidated his position and endeared himself to the people of Mangalagiri. His Rs 4 meal scheme is a huge hit. His legal fights and his struggle to protect Sadavarti Lands have made him a hero. He hopes to win with the support of the weaver community, the SCs and of course the Reddys, who are present in large numbers in Kaja, Penumaka and other villages.
In fact, weaver community is numerically the biggest community in Mangalagiri and it gave MLAs like Kandru Kamala, Murugudu Hanumantha Rao and Goli Veeranjaneyulu. This community solidly backed the Left Parties for years. Now, the support base for the Left has vanished and the party is a shadow of its former self. The CPI has put up its district secretary Muppalla Nageswara Rao, but whether he makes a dent remains to be seen.
On the whole, Mangalagiri promises to be a battle royale between Lokesh and RK. Let's see who wins.