LS polls crucial for ruling TDP in AP

Amaravati, Apr 10 (PTI) The first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday is crucial for Andhra Pradeshs ruling Telugu Desam Party, for, the outcome will determine its standing on the national political scene.
TDP president and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is desperately seeking to regain lost glory in New Delhi, having taking an active role in the anti-Modi grouping of various parties, including the Congress.
“Help the TDP win all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the State so that we can dictate terms to New Delhi…,” Naidu repeatedly said during campaigning.
In 2014, the TDP won 16 of 25 seats in the State but with the BJP securing a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha, the party could not resort to any arm-twisting.
Naidu quit the NDA last year on the issue of special category status for AP and forged friendship with the Congress to take on the BJP.
He also revived ties with opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav, H D Deve Gowda and M K Stalin and mounted an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Winning a sizeable number of Lok Sabha seats thus is a critical requirement for the TDP supremo to remain relevant at the national level.
The TDP has fielded almost all its sitting MPs and brought in new faces at many places.
Former Union Minister Kishore Chandra Deo, who switched over from the Congress, has been fielded from Araku (ST) Lok Sabha constituency.
Interestingly, his daughter Shruti Devi is taking him on as the Congress nominee.
At Vizianagaram, former union minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju is seeking re-election.
Former union ministers Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy and Panabaka Lakshmi, who too crossed over from the Congress, are fighting as TDP nominees from Kurnool and Tirupati (SC) segments respectively.
Two state ministers Sidda Raghava Rao and C Adinarayana Reddy are contesting the Lok Sabha election for the first time from Ongole and Kadapa respectively.
The State Assembly elections is being held simultaneously along with the Lok Sabha polls.
The main opposition YSR Congress, which is focused on the assembly polls, is also aiming to bag the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats this time.
In 2014, the YSR Congress won eight seats in AP.
By winning at least 20 seats this time, the YSRC wants to have a major say in Delhi politics, essentially to “derive maximum benefits for the state”, including possibly the elusive special category status.
The BJP, then in alliance with TDP, managed to win two of the four parliamentary seats it contested in 2014.
It is contesting all 25 seats this time.
State BJP president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana (Narsaraopet), former Union Minister Daggubati Purandeswari (Visakhapatnam) and former state minister P Manikyala Rao (Narsapuram) are its prominent contestants.
The BJP and the Congress, which is going it alone in the polls, will find the going difficult against the TDP and YSRC.

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