Nellore: Campaigning for Atmakur by-election ended on a high-note Tuesday evening as both the YSR Congress and BJP held massive rallies and road shows. As the campaigning concluded, the joint collector MN Harendhira Prasad asked the outsiders to leave and not return to Atmakur for the next 48 hours.
YSRC confident of win
The major contesting parties took up the campaign in a grand way. Senior YSR Congress leaders like Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, Kakani Govardhan Reddy, Balieni Srinivasulu Reddy and P Anil Kumar Yadav were entrusted with the responsibility of election campaign.The byelection was necessitated by the death of sitting MLA and minister Mekapati Goutham of the YSR Congress in February.
They urged the people to elect the YSRC candidate Mekapati Vikram Reddy, who is a brother of former minister Goutham Reddy, as the Atmakur verdict is a reflection of the YS Jagan government's sincerity, performance and public-welfare governance. The party leaders are confident that the party candidate will win the bypoll with a huge margin.
BJP on a shaky ground
Similar to the Tirupati and Badvel by-elections, the top BJP leaders have entered the fray in Atmakur bypoll as well. Besides state president and in-charge of BJP's affairs, Rajya Sabha members and former Union ministers have conducted electioneering and urged the voters to ensure the victory of party candidate G Bharat Kumar Yadav
Despite the efforts of BJP president Somu Veerraju and Sunil Deodhar, the fact that its candidate Bharat Kumar is a non-local is worrying the saffron party. Analysts say that given the present political scenario, it is enough for BJP to get a minimum number of votes to maintain the party’s prestige. This time, the saffron party may also get a tough fight from the BSP.
Countdown for tomorrow’s polling
Atmakur voters will line up to cast their vote in the bypoll on Thursday morning. A total of 377 EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) will be kept in 279 polling booths. As many as 1,300 personnel will be on duty for the by-elections.
Of all the 2,13,138 voters in the constituency, 1,07,367 are female, while 1,05,960 are male voters. In the 2019 elections, 82.44 per cent of the votes were polled in the constituency and it remains to be seen what will be the polling percentage in this by-election.
The Election Commission officials have moved the voting machines and other polling related material to the Andhra Engineering College. Collector Chakradhar Babu inspected the distribution of election material in Atmakur
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for tomorrow’s Atmakur by-election. Nellore Superintendent of Police Ch Vijaya Rao said there will be route mobile teams for 38 sectors to monitor the law and order situation while the ‘Striking Force’ , a special police force will patrol each mandal. The Superintendent of Police added that three-tier security is put in place for 123 troubled polling stations. He said police have seized Rs 47 lakh rupees during a regular checking of vehicles at check posts.
As many as 14 candidates are in fray for Thursday’s election. B Subba Reddy, an independent candidate, withdrew his nomination. Mekapati Vikram Reddy (YSRC), G Bharat Kumar (BJP), Nanda Obulesu (BSP), SK Jaleel (Navarang Congress Party), SK Moinuddin (Indian Union Muslim League), Bandaru Ravi (HMRD), P Hazarathaiah (Janam Manam) and SK Mahboob Basha (Anna YSR Congress) represent the political parties in fray. While the Independents are B Ratnam, Ch Penchala Mohan, P Amarnath Reddy and others.