With all major political parties finalising their candidates, battle lines are drawn in the Payakaraopeta Assembly segment which comes under the Anakapalle Lok Sabha segment.
A number of issues in the constituency remain unaddressed, despite the repeated promised being made by the candidates in the run up to elections. topping the bill is the Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Payakaraopeta which is in a dilapidated condition. Voter say the condition of building has gone beyond repairs and it is time the structure be demolished and a new building was constructed.
Further, lack of a government degree college, irrigation facilities in Kotauratla mandal, large scale migration of fishermen and agricultural labourers remain the other major issues. Villagers in the Kotauratla mandal have been demanding a lift irrigation scheme so that water could be drawn from Thandava River. Strengthening of bunds along the Thandava, Varaha, Sarada and Pampa, which join the sea near Payakaraopeta, is also sought as a measure to prevent the flooding of villages during cyclones.
Reserved for SC community, Payakaraopeta favoured the TDP in a majority of elections in the past. The TDP nominee Vangalapudi Anita wrest the segment by defeating Changala Venkata Rao of YSRCP by a margin of over 2800 votes in 2014. However, she was denied the party ticket this time reportedly due to pressure from the cadre against her candidature.
She was moved to Kovvur in West Godavari district and the party fielded B. Bangaraiah, an RMO of KGH, who had organised several medical camps for the poor in the rural areas, but is not well-known in political circles from the constituency.
On the other hand, the YSRCP chose Golla Babu Rao, who won in 2009 elections on the Congress ticket during the tenure of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. He is hopeful of winning the seat again.
The BJP, which was an ally of the TDP in the last elections, has announced former MLA Kakara Nookaraju as the nominee from the constituency. Mr. Nookaraju represented the segment thrice in 1985, 1989 and 1994 on the TDP ticket. He is likely to give a tough competition to his rivals. Emerging as a force to reckon with, the Jana Sena Party too has thrown its hat into the ring by fielding Nakka Rajababu. The JSP is seen as a major threat to both TDP and the YSRCP in the reserved constituency.
The Congress has nominated Talluri Vijay Kumar. The bifurcation blues continue to haunt the grand old party and it is unlikely to make much impact in the constituency.
The TDP appears to be strong in the segment. The BJP and the Jana Sena, which threw their weight behind the TDP for its success in the last elections, now parted ways. Further, it remains to be seen whether the supporters of Ms. Anita would extend support to Dr. Bangaraiah wholeheartedly as she was denied the ticket to contest from the constituency.
In the 2014 elections, Ms. Anita of the TDP defeated her YSRCP rival Changala Venkata Rao by a narrow margin of 2,828 votes. While Ms. Anita polled 86,355 votes with a vote share of 48.02 %, Venkata Rao polled 83,527 votes and had a vote share of 46.44 %. The TDP gained from the Congress, which had to pay a heavy price in the aftermath of State bifurcation.