Tirupati: The by-polls to 23 Tirupati parliamentary constituencies started on a dramatic note with all three parties - TDP, YSRCP and BJP - alleging each other of bogus votes. The parties have complained of gross violations of the model code of conduct.
TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has dashed off a letter to the Election Commission of India alleging that thousands of YSRCP henchmen were brought from outside in hundreds of buses to cast fake votes, instigate violence, impersonate absentees and dead voters, capture booths, and rig the election.
The former Chief Minister in his letter alleged, "Many voted in the name of existing voters with fake EPIC cards. Ironically, many of the fake voters and impersonators were unable to tell their names, their father's name or spouse name or their address. Thousands of YSRCP henchmen have been brought to Tirupati parliamentary constituency in hundreds of private/school/college buses with mala-fide intention to capture booths, rig elections, vote by impersonation, cast fake votes, and instigate violence to mar the elections."
He alleged that in spite of numerous complaints to the Election Commission along with video and photographic evidence, there was no response from the local election authorities and no change at the ground level. "Officials on election duty and police authorities have not acted promptly and in turn cooperated with the impersonators and fake voters belonging to YSRCP," the TDP chief alleged.
He cited the example of panchayati raj minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy who, as per the election affidavit, is a resident of Yerrathivaripalle village in Chittoor district. The TDP alleged that the minister is not a voter of Triupati Parliament constituency but has stayed back in Tirupati even after the end of the campaign on 15 April.
Hitting back, the minister condemned TDP's "false propaganda". "TDP has been spreading false information in fear of losing the by-poll. Some reporters entered polling booths and captured photos and videos which is against the rules. YSRCP will complain to the Election Commissioner in this regard, he added. The minister said former TDP MLA and ex-TUDA chairman have created a ruckus in front of the PLR Convention Centre.
Earlier this week, miscreants had pelted stones at former Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu's roadshow at Krishnapuram Thana, Tirupati, injuring two party activists. Following this, Mr. Naidu had alleged that the state police had failed to provide security to Opposition leaders and said 'rowdy rajyam' was prevailing in the state.
Mr. Peddireddy Ramachandra had rubbished the allegations and claimed the TDP leaders had engineered the incident hoping to win the by-poll.