Hindupur constituency in Anantapur district is likely to be the scene of a major electoral battle. In a sense, it will be a David Vs Goliath fight as YSR Congress party's candidate, former police officer Iqbal Ahmed who will take on Tollywood actor and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's brother-in-law and his son and IT Minister Nara Lokesh’s father in law, Nandamuri Balakrishna of the Telugu Desam. The Tollywood actor is incidentally, the sitting MLA of Hindupur.
Iqbal Ahmed is a fiesty police officer who is known to have taken on corrupt politicians fearlessly as an IPS officer and rose to become an IG in the police force.
Extremely well read, committed and dedicated to public service, Iqbal faces an uphill task in trying to dislodge Nandamuri Balakrishna who is symbolic of the ruling party's political muscle as well as money power.
Balakrishna is holding on to his family bastion, but has done precious little for the constituency, locals say. He is no longer the crowdpuller he once used to be and if anything has often made a laughing stock of himself by committing bloopers in his speeches.
Balayya is also known for his lack of civility, people of Hindupur point out. His film sheen has long worn off, it appears from a casual conversation with voters in the constituency, though the party has a considerably strong base in the region.
Voters here are unhappy with the sitting MLA Balakrishna who they say has not connected with them at all over the past five years. “Without doing anything for us, Balayya expects us to vote for him blindly. He seems to have taken as for granted," many of them said.
However knocking Nandamuri Balakrishna off his high perch will not be an easy task for the YSR Congress Party candidate, though there is a tremendous groundswell of support for the party here.
Hindupur has been a TDP stronghold for more than three decades. It may be recalled that NT Ramarao represented the constituency for three terms followed by his son Nandamuri Harikrishna in 1996.
Meanwhile, for the Lok Sabha seat, the YSR Congress Party fielded Gorantla Madhav, a circle inspector of police, who took voluntary retirement from government service. He joined the YSRCP and was welcomed by party president, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in January.
The former police officer hails from Kurnool district and joined the police force in 1996 as a sub-inspector. During the course of his service spanning more than two decades, he worked in Kurnool, YSR Kadapa and Anantapur districts.
Gorantla Madhav shot to fame when he took on the Anantapur Lok Sabha member, JC Diwakar Reddy, who made highly objectionable remarks on the police personnel’s behaviour during the Probhodanana Ashram issue at Tadipatri in Anantapur.
The former CI belongs to the Kutumbala BC caste which has a large representation of voters in Hindupur.
TDP has pitted Nimmala Kristappa against Gorantla Madhav. Kristappa is a veteran politician who was elected to the Hindupur Lok Sabha constituency in 2009. He was reelected on a TDP ticket in 2014.
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