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One of the keenly watched electoral battles in Andhra Pradesh is for the Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat.

Both the ruling Telugu Desam Party, which did not re-nominate its sitting MP, and the Congress have fielded candidates who are political lightweights but otherwise very influential.

The TDP's Aswini Dutt Chalasani is a film producer who is considered close to Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu. TDP founder N T Rama Rao starred in Dutt's first production; he is also credited with giving current Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi his first hit.

Dutt has been a TDP sympathiser since NTR founded the party in 1982. For the past four years, he has been Naidu's media co-ordinator and it is this relationship that got him the party ticket.

Reportage and photographs: A Ganesh Nadar

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