TDP MP from Kakinada Thota Narasimham, 56, joined the YSR Congress Party on Wednesday. Due to ill-health, Narasimham had conveyed his wishes to TDP leadership not to contest again but had asked for an MLA ticket for his wife T Vani.
However, in spite of meeting Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu several times, he was apparently not given an assurance that his wife would get the party ticket to contest the forthcoming elections.
Narasimham is learnt to have then contacted Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and expressed his willingness to join the YSRCP. He has reportedly also explored the possibility of YSRCP fielding his wife from Jaggampeta Assembly constituency in East Godavari district.
The TDP narrative is, however, different. Sources in the party said that Narasimham himself was in danger of not getting the ticket again to contest from Kakinada because the party feels he has not performed well.
Narasimham is a well-known Kapu leader from East Godavari district, and his going is a big loss to the TDP which is banking on the Kapu vote in the face of a strong YSRCP. However, whether his entry into the YSRCP will in itself result in the shifting of the Kapu vote to that party is uncertain.
In 2014, of the 19 Assembly constituencies in East Godavari district, TDP won 12, YSRCP 5, BJP 1, and one went to an Independent. The Jaggampeta constituency which Narasimham wants for his wife was won by the YSRCP. Of the seven Assembly constituencies in the Kakinada parliamentary segment, the TDP and YSRCP won 3 each, while an Independent won from Pithapuram.
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Narasimham won a tight contest in 2014, defeating the YSRCP’s Sunil Chalamalasetty by only about 3,400 votes. Both candidates got over 46% and over 5 lakh votes. The Congress’s Mallipudi Raju Pallam Mangapati, the sitting MP in 2014, was washed out with fewer than 20,000 votes.
Narasimham was a minister in N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s Congress government, the last before the bifurcation of the state, from 2010 to 2014. He is the leader of the TDP’s 15 MPs in the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha.