Nagaraja Gali | Apr 11, 2019 | 4 min read
Clashes between the cadre of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress claimed the life of a ruling party functionary in Ananthnag district in phase 1 of polling.
Andhra Pradesh is one of the four states where voting is being held simultaneously for state Assembly and the Lok Sabha. On Thursday, 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha seats went to the polls.
Incidents of violence took place between rival political parties in Rayalaseema and Palnadu region. Tadipatri Assembly segment in Rayalseema saw a clash that claimed the life of a TDP member Chinta Bhaskar Reddy and left four others critically injured. Sitting MP JC Diwakar Reddy of the ruling party is testing his fortunes in Tadipatri.
Tourism minister Akhila Priya’s husband Bhargav and her sister Mounika reportedly sustained injuries in a stone-pelting allegedly carried out by the followers of her rival YSR Congress candidate Gangula Bijendranath Reddy at Atmakuru under Allagadda Assembly seat in Kurnool district. This was followed by a high drama marked by a protest. The minister accused YSR Congress of kidnapping her followers. However, the minister later told press none from her family members were injured.
Multiple people were injured in clashes reported in Rapthadu Assembly constituency in Ananthapur, Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Sattenapalli in Palnadu region and Eluru Assembly segment in West Godavari district.
The areas affected by left-wing extremism in East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, which share borders with Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, voted under the shadow of gun-toting security personnel entrusted with containing Maoist influence.
A sitting lawmaker Kadari Sarveswara Rao and another former MLA Siveri Soma were shot dead by Maoists in Araku of Visakhapatnam district six months before the elections. A huge contingent of security personnel had stepped up combing operations over the last 20 days to defuse the impact of Maoists on polling. Polling in the Maoist-affected areas began only after 10 am due to fault in the Electronic Voting Machines. Kidari’s son and state minister for health Kidari Sravan Kumar is the TDP candidate in Araku.
TDP leader and state minister Adinarayana Reddy, who is contesting the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat, was not able to undertake campaigning freely in any of the seven Assembly segments falling under the Parliament seat in the aftermath of the killing of YSR Congress boss Jaganmohan Reddy’s uncle YS Vivekananda Reddy. Jagan has accused Adinarayana Reddy and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu of plotting the murder of his uncle to demoralise his party cadre before the elections.
A TDP leader from Kadapa district on condition of anonymity said Adinarayana Reddy could not step into Pulivendula, from where the YSR Congress chief is wishing to go to the Assembly, fearing a backlash from the rival group since the murder of Vivekanda Reddy.
In Sattenapalli Assembly constituency in the Palnadu region of Guntur district, Assembly speaker and TDP candidate Kodela Sivaprasada Rao reportedly swooned during a clash with YSR Congress cadre. The angry protesters of the YSR Congress sought to prevent the entry of Rao into a polling station and it triggered a clash.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police RP Thakur told FirstPost Thursday’s polling was more peaceful and incident-free than what it was like in the 2014 elections. He said this time, there was no Maoist violence and even faction violence, barring “minor” incidents”.
Andhra Pradesh's Chief Electoral Officer Gopalakrishna Dwivedi said the Election Commission (EC) has taken a serious view of poll-related violence and will bring the guilty to the book. TDP spokesperson Panchumarthi Anuradha said the cadre of YSR Congress had exposed their criminal persona by assaulting Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao and killing their party functionary in Tadipatri with the backing of the EC and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, YSR Congress MLA candidate in Dhone of Kurnool district alleged that the TDP was spreading falsehood about his party. He alleged that in fact, TDP workers had killed his party activist in Tambalapalli of Chittoor district during polling.
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