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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

It's a close race in Visakhapatnam-II

By Our Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM, APRIL 19. The poll scene in Visakhapatnam-II Assembly constituency is poised for a photo-finish with the Congress making last-minute surge to get past the winning post.

While the Telugu Desam Party candidate, Palla Simhachalam, was riding the crest of popularity in the initial days, it was dented to a great extent by his Congress rival, S. Ranga Raju, with his aggressive campaigning style in the last few days.

The Congress campaign received a shot in the arm with the huge turnout at AICC president, Sonia Gandhi's public meeting a couple of days ago. Her meeting helped him pick up the desired momentum.

Mr. Simhachalam is a seasoned campaigner and contesting for the fourth time from this constituency having lost in 1983, won in 1994 and losing as a TDP rebel in 1999. Mr. Ranga Raju is a first-timer. Visakha-II covers the most developed parts of the city and is one of the few constituencies in the State that has more men voters than women.

Moreover, it has a unique record of not electing any candidate for the second time. It is to be seen whether Mr. Palla Siamhachalam would break it.

Naresh (30), a provision store owner near Neelammavepachettu, says: "TDP candidates were elected from this constituency in the last two occasions.

It's time to give the Congress a chance.'' This attitude is prevalent to some extent in the constituency.

If community can be a deciding factor, the constituency, dominated by Backward Classes like Yadavas and Gavaras, is likely to favour Mr. Simhachalam, a Yadava.

Mr. Ranga Raju is a Kshatriya. But the problem for the TDP nominee is that there are two strong dissidents within his community.

Though this constituency is part of the developed city, perennial problems like clogged drains, mosquitoes and inadequate sanitation in slum areas plague the segment apart from the growing menace of unemployment.

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