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Corporate bigwigs ready to test poll turf in AP
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 15
A host of corporate bigwigs are trying their luck on the political turf in the Andhra Pradesh elections. The IT honchos, realtors, promoters of infrastructure majors and educational institutions are among the businessmen who are testing their political fortunes.

Leading the pack is Lagadapati Rajagopal, former chairman of the Lanco Group, who is seeking re-election from the Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency on Congress ticket. Incidentally, he is the richest contestant in the present elections with declared assets worth over Rs 299 crore.

KS Rao, who founded Progressive Constructions; RS Rao, a tobacco baron, and SPY Reddy of Nandi Pipes are all seeking re-election to the Lok Sabha on behalf of the ruling party. Among the new-comers to the rough and tumble of politics are IT honchos P Srikanth Reddy and Sudhish Rambhotla, educationist Lavu Rattaiah; manufacturer Dr G Vivekanand; realtor and actor Murali Mohan and film producer Allu Arvind.

Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s businessman-son YS Jaganmohan Reddy is making electoral debut from the Kadapa LS seat, a family stronghold. He has interests in power, cement, infrastructure, real estate and media sectors.

P Srikanth Reddy, a Stanford-educated technocrat and promoter of “Four Soft” IT company, is the TDP candidate taking on the Chief Minister’s son in the latter’s bastion.

The other IT professional in the poll fray is Sudhish Rambhotla, founder-promoter of Color Chips, an animation company based in Hyderabad. He is contesting in the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency on TDP ticket.

Managing director of Visakha Industries Dr G Vivekanand is the Congress candidate from the Peddapally LS seat which was represented by his father and veteran Congress leader G Venkataswamy for a record nine terms.

In Khammam, taking on the firebrand MP and Union Minister for Women and Child Welfare Renuka Chowdhury is Nama Nageswar Rao who headed the infrastructure major Madhucon Projects.

He quit as chairman of the over Rs 1,000-crore company and is now fighting on TDP ticket. The film star and promoter of Jayabheri Constructions was the last-minute entrant from the Rajahmundry LS seat in coastal Andhra on behalf of the TDP.

The real estate boom in the state had spawned a new set of politically ambitious businessmen and many of them have thrown their hats in the electoral ring. A majority of them are in the Congress.

The education sector, another growth story in AP, has also fielded a couple of its personalities. L Ratthiah of Vignan Group of Institutions is contesting from the newly-created Malkajgiri constituency in the city from the Loksatta Party.

Noted film producer and mega star Chiranjeevi’s brother-in-law Allu Arvind is making a maiden bid to enter the Lok Sabha from the Anakapalle constituency in coastal Andhra on Praja Rajyam Party ticket.

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