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The upcoming Nandyal assembly by-election in Andhra Pradesh is shaping up to be an all-out battle between the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), and is expected to set the tone for the 2019 general elections.
Over the past few weeks, TDP and opposition YSRCP have started their high-pitched campaigns for the assembly by-election on 23 August, with both parties leaving no stone unturned, as the Nandyal seat is also a matter of prestige for them. The result will be seen not only as a verdict on chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s governance, but also as a precursor to the 2019 general elections for the TDP and the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP.
The Nandyal seat fell vacant when sitting MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy died of a cardiac arrest in March. Having won on a YSRCP ticket in the 2014 general elections, he defected to the TDP about a year ago along with his daughter and Allagadda MLA Bhuma Akhila Priya, who is the AP minister for culture and tourism at present.
The final twist was the YSRCP’s candidate choice, Silpa Mohan Reddy, who had contested against Nagi Reddy from the TDP in the 2014 elections and lost by about 3,000 votes. Mohan Reddy had won the same seat twice in 2004 and 2009 from the Congress. He had opposed Nagi Reddy’s entry into the TDP, and switched sides to YSRCP as he was unhappy with the move, said a senior TDP leader, not willing to be quoted.
In this by-election, Mohan Reddy will be contesting against a new entrant, 25-year-old Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy from the TDP, who is Akhila Priya’s cousin.
“Over the last few weeks, the TDP government has started development projects worth over Rs200 crore in the assembly segment alone. The CM is taking the by-election very seriously. Our MLAs and cabinet ministers have been stationed at Nandyal for almost a month for the campaign. We have high chances of winning,” said a senior TDP functionary, not wishing to be identified.
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