Jagan faces tough TDP challenge in Kadapa

Jagan faces tough TDP challenge in Kadapa

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 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 for Lok Sabha polls in two phases on April 30 and May 7. 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 for the Pulivendla Assembly seat.

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

In the Lok Sabha byelections here in 2011 after he quit 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 outfit. But political observers are sensing a change in voters' attitudes this time.

While Jaganmohan is contesting in the Assembly polls from Pulivendla, 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 opponents, the going may not be easy for 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 polls in Andhra Pradesh as an ally of BJP.

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

With sizable presence of Muslim and Christian minorities, 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 TDP, led by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. 

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