TIRUPATI: After campaigning for the prestigious Tirupati (SC) Lok Sabha bypoll came to end on Thursday, all political parties have begun analysing reports from the ground level. The election is scheduled to be conducted on Saturday, April 17.
The ruling party’s candidate Dr. Maddila Gurumurthy is set against four-time MP and former Union minister Panabaka Lakshmi from the Telugu Desam, former Karnataka chief secretary K. Ratna Prabha from the BJP-Janashakti combine, six-time MP Chinta Mohan from the Congress and N. Yadagiri from the CPI(M).
In the 2019 elections, Durga Prasad secured 7,22,877 votes and won against the TD’s Lakshmi by a margin of 2,28,376 votes. She secured 4,94,501 votes, followed by Chinta Mohan (Congress) and B. Srihari Rao (BJP) got 24,039 and 16,125 votes respectively.
Buoyed by the massive victory that the YSRC secured in the panchayat and civic body elections in the state, the ruling YSRC appears to be confident about its victory.
However, senior leaders including Y.V. Subba Reddy, Dy. CM Narayana Swamy, minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy and others have camped in the constituency and monitored party campaigns. Accompanied by the YSRC’s local legislators, Dr Gurumurthy covered interior parts in their respective Assembly segments and organised many public meetings, seeking votes for the party.
Among the opposition parties, the Telugu Desam had put in all efforts to win the seat amid its waning reputation in the just concluded local body elections. Former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, his son Nara Lokesh and other senior TD leaders have completed many rounds of campaigns, covering all the assembly segments. The TD chief organised at least one public meeting in each of the seven Assembly segments.
The father-and-son duo also launched a scathing attack on the YSRC, digging out the Viveka murder case, pointing out the rising prices of essential commodities. TD nominee Lakshmi took various local issues to target the state government during her campaign, while the Congress candidate Chinta Mohan was also at par in the campaign with other contestants.
On the other hand, BJP has focused on the Hindutva agenda by targeting the YSRC candidate. Lacked with the secondary cadre, the BJP was said to be lagged behind in terms of electioneering when compared to other parties — except a few impressive public meetings took part by JS chief Pawan Kalyan and some senior central leaders of BJP.
However, they managed to target their rival candidate and YSRC chief based on their religious affiliation. The YSRC’s Gurumurthy filed his nomination as a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste Hindu. However, the BJP leaders accused him of giving incorrect information about his religion in his nomination papers and accused him of converting to Christianity and demanded election authorities to disqualify his candidature.