The by-election to the Tirupati (SC) Parliamentary constituency, scheduled to be held on April 17 due to the sudden demise of ruling YSR Congress MP Balli Durgaprasad last October, promises to be a keenly-contested fight among all major political parties.
While the ruling YSRCP hopes to sustain its winning streak as seen during the recent panchayat and municipal elections, the opposition Telugu Desam Party is keen on proving that it is still a force to reckon with. The BJP, meanwhile, has declared that it will begin its victory march in the State by first bagging the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat.
TDP national president N. Chandrababu Naidu was the first to blow the poll bugle for the election in the temple city, followed by the BJP rushing its entire State cadre to Tirupati last year. The YSRCP then got into the game, with Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy nominating his personal physiotherapist Maddila Gurumoorthy as the party’s candidate.
Further reinforcing his poll strategy, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy drafted seven of his Cabinet colleagues and entrusted each of them with the responsibility of winning an Assembly segment. There are seven Assembly segments under the Tirupati Parliamentary constituency, and each Minister will be assisted by an MLA from outside. All sitting MLAs belong to the ruling party.
After announcing the name of former Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi as the party’s candidate as early as last November, Mr. Naidu has now deputed his former Cabinet colleagues Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy to oversee the campaigning and filing of nominations on Wednesday.
On the other hand, the BJP has entered into an alliance with Jana Sena Party (JSP) but still finds itself struggling to finalise a candidate despite claiming that several retired bureaucrats are aspiring for a party ticket.
Meanwhile, YSRCP MLA from Tirupati Bhumana Karunakar Reddy began canvassing for the party candidate in Tirupati by reaching out to local leaders.