Nellore’s Muslim Vote an X-Factor in a Tight Assembly Contest

Tirupati: As the campaigning is intensifying for Nellore City assembly seat, the spotlight has turned to the 53,000-strong Muslim electorate out of a total 2.37 lakh voters.

This electorate could be decisive in the triangular fight for the constituency between ruling YSR Congress, opposition Telugu Desam, and the CPM nominee of INDIA alliance.

Incumbent city deputy mayor Mohammed Khaleel Ahmed, a prominent Muslim face, is the YSRC candidate. His community's support is crucial for him, so that YSRC could retain the seat. However, the entry of CPM's Mulam Ramesh has threatened to split the Muslim vote bank in areas like Gurralamadugu Sangam, Sundaraiah Nagar, Janda street and Mansur Nagar, where the Left still has ideological support.

"CPM candidate's presence is an interesting twist in the traditional YSRC-TD battle. Though the two parties are main contenders, the CPM candidate could take votes from both parties, especially in Muslim areas," notes a political observer. For TD, winning the Nellore City seat is crucial. Its candidate, ex-minister Dr. P. Narayana, narrowly lost in 2019 despite polling 46 per cent of votes.

This time, certain ruling YSRC leaders have shifted to the Telugu Desam. The opposition party also has the backing of the influential Anam family. The YSRC candidate could also face a challenge from ex-Nellore mayor Sk. Abdul Aziz, who could sway Muslims towards the TD. Another risk factor for the ruling party candidate is Roop Kumar Yadav, who has defected from YSRC and is backing TD's MP nominee Vemireddy Prabhakar Reddy.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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