With TDP national president and Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu finalising the candidature of his son — IT Minister Lokesh from the Mangalagiri Assembly segment — all eyes are on the temple town. Speculation was rife that Mr. Lokesh would be fielded from either Bheemunipatnam or Visakhapatnam North, but Mr. Naidu has opted for Mangalagiri, which is now a vital part of the Capital region.
Sitting YSRC MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy defeated Ganji Chiranjeevi with a wafer-thin margin of 12 votes in the last elections.
Once considered a bastion of the Left parties, the town has now transformed into a bustling place and is now a hub of government offices.
Mr. Lokesh is the first high-profile candidate to contest from the segment, post-bifurcation. Proximity to the Capital region, the prospects of a massive development and party strength are some of the factors which could have influenced the decision.
The candidature of Mr. Lokesh could throw up some interesting options for the rival parties. The YSRCP has not yet decided on the candidate. Mr. Ramakrishna Reddy is confident of getting the ticket.
The recent entry of Tadisetty Murali, whose wife hails from the town, has added to speculation that she may get the nod. The YSRCP is contemplating fielding a candidate from the weaver community till recently, but may change its plans in the light of the latest development.