The campaign for the Nandyal bye-election in Andhra witnessed an emotionally charged day on Thursday, with YSRCP Chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy launching a scathing attack on the ruling TDP government and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Addressing a massive crowd in Nandyal town, Jagan said, "Naidu and his son are making false promises and issuing Government Orders for development works in Nandyal, because they are scared of the YSRCP. Tell me, if we were not in the competition, would he (Naidu) have bothered to give a rupee to Nandyal?"
"This is not a bye election. It is a holy war, between justice and injustice. This is an election where people will fight against Naidu," Jagan proclaimed.
As the atmosphere continued to get emotionally charged, the YSRCP chief even went to the extent of saying, "A person like Chandrababu Naidu should be shot in public for his double speak and unending deeds of corruption.â€ť
The statement has shocked many, and TDP leaders are not pleased with it.
Speaking to TNM, TDP Kurnool District President Somisetty Venkateswarlu said, "Firstly, Jagan talking about corruption is ironic. The entire world knows how corrupt he is and keeps reading the news on the CBI and ED cases against him."
Reacting to the statement that Naidu should be shot, he said, "If he has stooped to that level, it is because the YSRCP knows that they are going to lose in Nandyal. They are insecure, and he may have made that statement as he was insecure, and wanted to attack us (TDP) in some way."
"Is this the way that a leader who runs a party, should speak? Is this the way anyone should speak about the Chief Minister of a state? In fact, it is a plus point, as people will see through his desperation, and realise what level he has stooped to. They will vote for us," he added.
He also said that the statement had irked many party workers, who now want to file a case against him in their personal capacity.
At the public meeting, Jagan also lashed out at Naidu for 'backstabbing' his father-in-law, and former Andhra CM, N T Rama Rao.
"It was Chandrababu Naidu who pulled the rug from under the feet of his father-in-law, and is therefore responsible for his subsequent death. Despite this, he doesnâ€™t think twice before using NTRâ€™s photos while campaigning for elections. Naidu has constantly undermined the cause of the Kapus, but has suddenly brought out actor Pawan Kalyan ahead of the Nandyal,â€ť he said.
Pawan Kalyan, who founded the Jana Sena party in the state, is from the Kapu caste, and had recently met Naidu, in the backdrop of massive protests by the community for reservation under BC category.
Mentioning Naidu's controversial statement earlier, that citizens who did not vote for him still used roads laid by him, and pensions issued by his government, Jagan said, "I am challenging Chandrababu Naidu. We will stand on the same road and protest against you. The roads are not yours, and belong to the citizens of Nandyal."
He also claimed that Naidu ignored farmers, women, and unemployed youth throughout his tenure, and remembered them only during elections.
"We will do real development in Nandyal. Nandyal will be declared as a model. Free houses for every poor person along with registration documents will be provided. We will increase districts in AP from 13 to 25, and Nandyal will become the district headquarters," Jagan promised.
"It's not enough to make baseless allegations. One needs to submit proof. He makes all kinds of statements, but he has no proof. If he has guts, we are ready to face him. We are always ready for an enquiry, unlike him. We are also confident of our victory in the upcoming election," Somisetty Venkateswarlu told TNM in response to Jagan's allegations.
Nandyal, a constituency in the state's Rayalaseema area, has been witnessing a political void ever since the death of its sitting MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy from a heart attack on March 12 this year.
After winning on a YSRCP ticket along with his daughter Bhuma Akhila Priya in 2014, the MLA had defected to the TDP in February last year.
While the ruling TDP has named Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy as its candidate, the YSRCP has named Silpa Mohan Reddy as its nominee. Other parties, including the Congress, are also planning to field candidates.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission announced that the election will be held on August 23.
While the last date of nomination is August 5, scrutiny of nomination will be done on August 7 and last date of withdrawal of candidates is August 9.
The counting of votes will be held on August 28.
The Election Commission said that electronic voting machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) will be used in the bye-elections in all the polling stations.
Inputs from Charan Teja