The Nandyal bye-poll continued to heat things up in Andhra's Kurnool district on Saturday, as Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu stepped on to the campaign trail.
Lashing out against personal attacks being carried out by the YSRCP President YS Jaganmohan Reddy, Naidu said that he was working hard for the state, and he doesn't deserve to be "shot or hanged."
On August 3, addressing a massive public meeting at Nandyal town, Jagan had said, “A person like Chandrababu Naidu should be shot in public.” Since then, Jagan has called for Naidu's 'hanging' twice, for 'failing to keep his promises'.
Jagan's comments triggered outrage across the state, with the Election Commission also issuing a notice to him.
Speaking to voters at NGO Colony in Nandyal town on Saturday, Naidu was quoted as saying, "We already know that victory is ours. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) stands for development and welfare of minorities is our agenda. I am working hard for the state and its people. Do you want me to be shot, hanged, to be ripped off? I have been striving hard to develop the state after the bifurcation and will do my best in it."
"The Opposition has been making false accusations throughout their campaign. Jagan himself, has been creating and spreading rumors among my supporters," he added.
Naidu also appealed to voters, to cast their vote against corruption.
“Use your vote as a weapon to defeat Mr. Jagan, who is speaking at will, uttering lies and turning a blind eye to ongoing development, and YSRCP candidate Silpa Mohan Reddy, who grabbed lands allotted to Dalits by the government,” he was quoted as saying.
Naidu was campaigning along with Andhra Tourism Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya, and her cousin, Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy, who is the TDP candidate for Nandyal.
The bye-election in Nandyal has been necessitated by the death of Akhila's father, Bhuma Nagi Reddy, who had defected to the TDP along with her, after winning on a YSRCP ticket.
Heaping praise on Naidu for sanctioning several developmental works in the constituency, Akhila Priya said, "Today, if my father, Bhuma Nagi Reddy was alive, he would have been very happy."
"I can even say that his soul may be resting in peace, because he always insisted that the CM should visit the Nandyal constituency, and today he has come here to meet the people," she added.
Both the parties have made the bye-election a prestige issue, as it is being seen as a referendum on the three-year rule of the TDP. It is also expected to indicate which way the winds are blowing in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
The Election Commission said that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) will be used in the bye-elections in all the polling stations.