The by-election for the Nandyal Assembly seat in Kurnool district, slated for August 23, is widely seen as a contest between the ruling TDP and the opposition YSRC to set the tone for the 2019 polls in Andhra Pradesh. Stakes are high in the by-poll for the two main parties — Telugu Desam and YSR Congress — as they are desperate to win the seat and prove their political supremacy. The by-election, the schedule for which was announced today, is necessitated by the death of sitting MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy on March 12.
Nagi Reddy won the seat as YSRC candidate in May 2014 but switched over to the ruling TDP in February 2016. The TDP is keen to demonstrate that it continues to enjoy the people’s support by winning the seat while the YSRC wants to prove otherwise by defeating its rival.Both the parties see the by-poll as a “semi-final” ahead of the 2019 final. The TDP had failed to win the Nandyal Assembly seat in 2004, 2009 and 2014 general elections. The ruling party wanted the seat to beleft to a member of Nagi Reddy’s family without a contest. The YSR Congress, however, insisted that the Nandyal seat belonged to it and the TDP should leave it uncontested.
Nagi Reddy’s daughter Akhila Priya, a legislator from Allagadda constituency, is a minister in the Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet. Silpa Mohan Reddy, who unsuccessfully contested the Nandyal seat in 2014, switched sides to the YSRC last month and he has been chosen as the party’s nominee for the by-poll. The TDP has chosen Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy, Nagi Reddy’s nephew, as its nominee. Akhila Priya has said that she would resign from the ministry if her cousin lost the by-election. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is leaving no stone unturned to ensure victory in Nandyal.
He visited the town twice in the last one month while nearly six ministers have been assigned as in-charge for the by-election. Over 12 legislators and MPs have also been given charge of the constituency to ensure the TDP wins at any cost. TDP MLC N Md Farook, who is from Nandyal which has over 50,000 Muslim voters, exuded confidence that the ruling party will comfortably sail through. “It is always the TDP that developed Nandyal and the development process will continue only under Chandrababu. Hence, people should vote for the TDP,” he said.