Kadapa LS Seat: YSRCP Faces Challenge From TDP

Yogesh Kabirdoss/ Kadapa
Kadapa LS Seat: YSRCP Faces Challenge From TDP

A battle for prestige is on the cards in this YSR family stronghold, which was represented four times by the late chief minister and twice by his son Jaganmohan, as traditional Congress supporters are looking at the TDP as an alternative after the junior Reddy parted ways with the national party.

Andhra Pradesh, which will be formally bifurcated in June to create the new state of Telangana, is scheduled to vote in the Lok Sabha polls in two phases--April 30 and May 7. The Election Commission is also simultaneously holding polls to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on the two dates--April 30 in the Telangana region followed by Seemandhra on May 7.

"So far, people were voting under threat. Now, they do not want to support the same people and instead would prefer TDP," claims Satish Kumar Reddy, who is challenging Jaganmohan from the Pulivendula Assembly seat.

Satish Kumar, who is also a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, further stressed that the TDP's vote base here was gradually increasing.

In the Lok Sabha byelections here in 2011 after he quit the Congress and resigned as the party's MP, Jaganmohan won the Kadapa seat by a staggering margin of more than 5 lakh votes as the candidate for his new political outfit. But political observers are sensing a change in voters' attitudes this time.

While Jaganmohan is contesting in the assembly polls from Pulivendula, his cousin Y S Avinash Reddy is the party's nominee for the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat.

Although Jaganmohan, who is said to be eyeing the Andhra Pradesh chief minister's post, is tipped to sail through in the assembly poll contest as he is facing no major opponent, the going may not be easy for the YSR Congress as it looks to retain the Kadapa Parliamentary seat.

R Srinivasa Reddy is the Telugu Desam Party candidate for this seat with the outfit going into the polls in Andhra Pradesh as an ally of the BJP.

Voters in the larger Kadapa Parliamentary constituency are said to be divided this time between the YSR Congress and the TDP, following the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.

With a sizable presence of Muslim and Christian minorities, the YSR Congress is hopeful that the voters from these communities will rally behind Jaganmohan's party but traditional Congress supporters are said to be betting on the TDP, led by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

The issues which have assumed prominence for the voters in the Kadapa Parliamentary constituency range from the debate over the proposed capital for the residual state of Andhra Pradesh and a lack of water supply in rural areas to law and order problems.

When NT Rama Rao launched the TDP in 1982, the party had won some supporters in Kadapa. Although the Congress later completely overshadowed the TDP here, it has now yielded ground to the YSR Congress.

But of late, due to defection from the Congress, TDP leaders are eyeing an improvement in their vote-bank in the hope that people who have traditionally voted for the Congress will this time go with them.

However, unfazed by the talk of a weakened support base, YSR Congress leaders are confident that their candidates will come out with flying colours, both in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

"Our nominee will win the Kadapa constituency," averred senior YSR Congress leader Mysura Reddy.

The Kadapa Parliamentary seat is made up of seven assembly segments, of which five are with the Congress while the YSR Congress and the TDP have one MLA each here.

The Pulivendula Assembly seat, which is part of the Kadapa constituency, has been represented by YS Rajasekhara Reddy's kin since 1978 and the family commands wide support in the area.

After the seat fell vacant following YSR Reddy's death in a helicopter crash in 2009, Jaganmohan's mother Y S Vijayamma was, in a 2011 bypoll, elected as the MLA from Pulivendula for the YSR Congress. Vijayamma is this time the party's Lok Sabha candidate from the Visakhapatnam seat.

As a mark of respect for the late YSR Reddy, Kadapa has been renamed YSR district.

As many as 143 candidates are left in the fray for the 10 assembly seats and 23 for the two Lok Sabha constituencies in the district. Voting in Kadapa, along with the rest of the Seemandhra region, is scheduled for May 7.

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