Nandyal bye-poll: Vijayawada MLA Bonda Uma dares MLA Roja to tonsure her head if YSRCP loses

In return, Bonda Uma offered to shave his own head in Nandyal, if TDP lost the election.
Nandyal bye-poll: Vijayawada MLA Bonda Uma dares MLA Roja to tonsure her head if YSRCP loses
Nandyal bye-poll: Vijayawada MLA Bonda Uma dares MLA Roja to tonsure her head if YSRCP loses
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After an entire day of trading allegations in the run up to the Nandyal bye-poll in Andhra's Kurnool district, TDP MLA from Vijayawada Central, B Uma Maheswar Rao on Monday challenged YSRCP leader RK Roja.

The challenge invited Roja to tonsure her head if TDP won the upcoming bye-poll, with Uma offering to do the same if YSRCP won the polls. 

Addressing Roja via media persons, he said, "You have toured extensively in the area and you are telling everyone that the YSRCP will win. You have also insulted the ruling TDP party. If TDP loses in Nandyal, I will come here and tonsure my head. If you accept my challenge, you have to tonsure your head if YSRCP loses."

"Just because you have the mike, and cameras, does not mean you can say anything. You are afraid that you will lose, so you are instigating people. You can spread as many falsehoods as you want, but the people of Nandyal are going to vote for the TDP only," he added.

Responding to the challenge, Roja later said, "If it’s just a question of tonsuring one's head, and if you are so sure of your victory, come to Nandyal during the results with all the TDP leaders, and we will know who has to shave their head on that day."

It's a battle of prestige for Andhra Pradesh's ruling TDP and opposition YSR Congress in the by-election for Nandyal assembly constituency scheduled for Wednesday.

Both parties have gone all out to win as the result may indicate the direction in which the wind will blow in the 2019 elections.

TDP and YSRCP, the lone opposition party in the state assembly, are locked in a straight fight in what is being described as the costliest ever by-election in the state's history.

Over 2.30 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in the by-election. For the first time, the Election Commission will use the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), which helps the voters know the candidates they have voted for.

Though the Congress party, which drew a blank in the 2014 elections, has also fielded a candidate and there are 12 other candidates, the contest is between the TDP and YSRCP.

Though Nandyal by-election is also necessitated by the death of sitting legislator Bhuma Nagi Reddy, YSRCP this time decided to contest, claiming it as its own seat. Bhuma, a key political figure in Kurnool district, had switched loyalties to TDP last year.

TDP has fielded Bhuma's nephew Brahmananda Reddy, who is facing a tough challenge from Silpa Chandra Mohan Reddy. Interestingly, Mohan Reddy had quit TDP to join YSRCP, after the ruling party denied him ticket.

The by-election result will not only be seen as a referendum on the performance of TDP government but may virtually set the stage for the next elections.

A win for YSRCP will put pressure on TDP and also lend legitimacy to its demand for the resignation of all 20 MLAs who crossed over to the ruling party over last two years.

The opposition party had been challenging TDP to make these legislators resign and face by-elections. Four of these legislators were inducted in the state cabinet in April.

These four ministers include Akhila Priya, the daughter of Bhuma Nagi Reddy. She represents neighbouring Allagadda constituency.

Almost the entire TDP leadership, including several ministers, participated in the aggressive campaigning.

The Congress party, which was virtually wiped out in the 2014 elections held in the immediate aftermath of bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh, has fielded Abdul Khader, a High Court advocate.

Khader's presence may split the Muslim vote between the TDP and YSRCP. Muslims constitute about 25% of the voters.

IANS inputs

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