TWhen the Telugu Desam’s first family chose Mangalgiri constituency in Guntur district for Nara Lokesh to contest from, it was assumed it was a safe seat for the second-in-command in the party. After all, Alla Ramakrishna Reddy of the YSR Congress had scraped through by the skin of his teeth in 2014, winning by just 12 votes. Add to that, Mangalgiri’s location in the Amaravati capital zone, the TDP reckoned, would bring votes of those who want the region to develop, into its kitty.
But on the campaign trail, it is seeming it won’t be a cakewalk for Lokesh. Reddy is putting up a tough fight, prompting Lokesh to bring in extraneous issues into the campaign.
The TDP strategy has been to allege that a vote for Jaganmohan Reddy will be handing over the keys to Andhra Pradesh to Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Which is why both Lokesh and Naidu have dragged in KCR and Telangana into the campaign rhetoric. But while doing so, Lokesh’s blooper has made him an object of ridicule and lampooning.
Lokesh alleged that KCR was stepping into Andhra politics to stop Polavaram irrigation project and take back the seven mandals that had merged with Andhra, back to Telangana.
Till then, the speech was fine. But Lokesh went one step further and alleged that KCR is trying to shift Machilipatnam port from Andhra to Telangana. This provoked twitteratti, especially the TDP detractors in Telangana, to question his knowledge of geography and ask how can a land-locked state shift a port to itself.
Those in Telangana did not let go the opportunity to have some fun, with Telangana Rashtra Samiti working president and KCR’s son KT Rama Rao, joining in as well. Many others joked about getting Machilipatnam to Hussainsagar lake in Hyderabad and even suggested to give the city’s Tank Bund as a return gift.
But there were some who sprung to Lokesh’s defence as well. Sambasiva Reddy tweeted : “What’s wrong in what Lokesh said? Telangana has its eyes on a port in AP and they expressed their interest in Machilipatnam port. Of course they can lease it but with CBN at the helm, they won’t get it cheap. Your Jagan is a quid pro man, so KCR is pumping the fool.”