Even as the BJP cadre are celebrating the completion of nine years of the Modi government at the Centre and gearing up to accord a rousing reception to Union Home Minister Amit Shah when he arrives in Vizag for short tour on Sunday, the Vizagites, who have been up in arms against the BJP on the issues like VSP privatisation, hope the BJP strongman may announce something positive keeping in view the fast approaching general elections.
If one looks into the past, the people of Visakhapatnam were not averse to the BJP. NSN Reddy, the first Mayor of Vizag, belonged to the BJP, and party leader PV Chalapathi Rao had represented the graduate MLC constituency and his son PVN Madhav, who also belongs to the saffron party, won the graduate MLC seat in the 2017 elections.
Even in the 2014 elections, party candidate P Vishnukumar Raju emerged victorious in the Visakhapatnam North constituency in a tie-up with the TDP. However, the party has incurred the wrath of the people in the region as it stirred the hornet’s nest by initiating a move to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, which was achieved by the people after several sacrifices.
The Central Government’s delaying tactics on the new railway zone too distanced the people from BJP. Despite the agitation by VSP workers and trade unions for the past 28 months, the Centre has remained adamant and is going ahead with its plan of privatising the plant. This forced the people to go to the streets demanding an end to the privatisation move.
Similarly, the people, particularly of Visakhapatnam, are on the warpath, resenting abnormal delays in establishing the new railway zone which was named South Coast Railway. Though the Centre announced the new railway zone with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters in February 2019, there is hardly any progress in its implementation.
The BJP, which in the past had a considerable chunk of voters in the city, apparently lost its vote bank to a great extent if the results of the recent elections are any indication. Keen on gaining a foothold in the Telugu-speaking states, the BJP is likely to come out with a plan ahead of the general elections to pacify the agitated people of North Andhra, particularly Visakhapatnam. Against this backdrop, the tour of Amit Shah in Vizag assumed significance and the people expect some soothing words from the BJP strongman.
Article written by Lakkoju Nagesh Babu, senior journalist and Column Editor.
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