Jolt to TDP in West Godavari as Kotagiri scion joins YSR Congress

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: It was a big jolt for the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in West Godavari district with the young leader Kotagiri Sridhar joining the Opposition YSR Congress on Sunday evening. The heir of late Kotagiri Vidyadhara Rao, this young leader was formally admitted into the party by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy at a largely attended meeting at Dwaraka Tirumala.

The Kotagiri family has been a strong base for the TDP since its inception. Vidyadhara Rao, a former minister, and his sibling Kotagiri Hanumantha Rao, were the two Independent legislators who have won against the late NTR wave in 1983. While Vidyadhara Rao had won as Independent from Chintalapudi in West Godavari district, Hanumantha Rao wrested the Nuzvid seat in Krishna district as Independent. However, both have joined NTR bandwagon after the elections. Since then, they have been with the TDP.

Though Nuzvid’s Hanumantha Rao was not a force for the party, Vidyadhara Rao had been a source of strength for the TDP in West Godavari. When the party was in Opposition after 2004 and late Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy took over the reins, Vidyadhara Rao remained politically silent, particularly after the latter started the Polavaram Left Canal works. After his death on July 20, 2013 the family remained non-political.

Though the TDP had won all the Assembly seats in the 2014 elections, it lacked a strong district level leader like Vidyadhara Rao. It was on the individual strength of the leaders and the image of the party in general  had helped the party wrest all the seats. The party too had the  Kapu community support as well as that of  the fans of Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan during the 2014 elections.

The TDP legislator from Denduluru, Chintamaneni Prabhakar, though commands considerable clout in the district compared to others, has been a controversial leader and giving bigger headaches to the party chief in the last three years.

Now, with the State set for second general elections in 2019 after the bifurcation, the political rejig, particularly Kotagiri Sridhar joining  the YSR Congress is set to have an impact on the district. Given the family’s acceptance in politics in the district, Sridhar is set to be an asset for the YSR Congress in the next elections.

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