Kakinada: The YSRC and the BJP are trying their best to woo the numerically strong Kapu classes (known as Balija and Ontari in different areas) for the prestigious Tirupati LS bypoll on April 17, observed political analysts. The onus of choosing a leader has fallen on this social group due to their strength in numbers among the Tirupati LS Assembly segments particularly Satyavedu, Sri Kalahasti and Tirupati.
Of the two parties, the YSRC started its move sooner by directing its focus on Kapunadu leader, former minister, and former MLA Mudragada Padmanabham. It is learned that the senior leader was offered not only an MLC seat but also a ministerial birth in the present Jagan Cabinet in AP in return for his support. According to reliable information from a close aide of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan, Kakinada city MLA Dwarampudi Chandrasekhar Reddy put forward this proposal before Mudragada whom he had met two days ago at Kirlampudi in East Godavari.
On the other hand, the BJP state leadership announced Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan as CM candidate for BJP-JS combine in the next Assembly polls in 2014. To drive the point home, the BJP in-charge for AP, Sunil Devadhar made this formal announcement at Tirupati on Friday, at a meet conducted with the Balija community members.
With both these parties on their toes to woo the Kapus it is to be seen what the TDP will do to win favours and prove its strength.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of sitting MP Balli Durgaprasada Rao of YSRC. Polling is scheduled to be held on April 17 and counting of votes on May 2.
The BJP has fielded former IAS officer K Ratna Prabha from Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh.Ratna Prabha served as Karnataka's first woman chief secretary when Siddaramaiah was chief minister of the state and she had also served as CEO of Visakhapatnam SEZ during Nara Chandrababu Naidu's regime in undivided AP. The 1981-batch IAS joined BJP after her retirement in 2019. And The TDP too has nominated woman candidate Panabaka Lakshmi. The ruling party has fielded Dr. M Gurumurthy from the constituency. Dr. Gurumurthy is the physiotherapist of chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Earlier, the YSRC won the Tirupati Lok Sabha (Scheduled Caste reserved) seat in 2014 and again in 2019, improving its vote share from 47.84 percent to 55.03 percent. Balli Durga Prasad Rao, who won in 2019 by a record margin of 2.28 lakh votes, died of COVID-19 on September 16 in 2020 necessitating the by-poll.