M Sri Bharat, his own party candidate in Visakhapatnam parliamentary constituency during the recent elections?
The answer seems to be yes, according to the talk doing rounds in media circles in the port city. The TDP chief was extremely reluctant to give the party ticket to Bharat, as the latter was a political novice without any recognition among the people and therefore, had little chances of winning the seat.
But, he was forced to give the ticket to Bharat under pressure from Nandamuri Balakrishna, his own brother-in-law. Bharat happens to be the younger son-in-law of Balakrishna. Apparently, Balakrishna argued that when Naidu’s son Lokesh (Balayya’s elder son-in-law) can get the prominence the party, Bharat also should be given the same prominence.
Everybody knows Naidu does not want any alternative power centre within the family. So, he gave the party ticket to Bharat but at the same time, reportedly sent secret messages to all the party confidants in Visakhapatnam that they should mobilise votes for Jana Sena Party candidate and former CBI joint director V V Lakshminarayana.
Even Naidu’s aide and minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao reportedly made his followers work for Lakshminarayana, instead of Bharat. As the campaigning progressed, Bharat realized that senior party leaders were not cooperating with him and that the party workers were secretly working for Lakshminarayana.
So, after the polling when it was evident that he is losing, Bharat quietly disappeared from Visakhapatnam. He switched off his phone and remained unavailable even to Balakrishna. He is learnt to have told his friends that he was cheated by his own party boss!