TDP retains Tirupati in one-sided by-election

HYDERABAD:  The Andhra voter made it clear he had not forgiven the Congress when the party candidate was defeated by an overwhelming margin in the Tirupati Assembly by-election on Monday.

In a totally one-sided contest,  Rudraraju Sreedevi of the Congress polled just 9628 votes, thereby forfeiting her deposit at the end of counting of votes in Tirupati on Monday.  The Congress had lost all the 175 seats in the AP Assembly in a verdict perceived as the voters’ punishment to the grand old party for bifurcating the State.

The TDP put up a convincing show in retaining the seat. Its candidate Ms. M. Sugunamma polled a massive 1,26,152 votes. The huge difference of 1.16 lakh votes between the two candidates can also be attributed to the sympathy factor that worked in Ms. Sugunamma’s favour. She is the widow of party MLA M. Venkataramana whose death caused the by-poll.

Ms. Sreedevi filed her nomination papers against the party’s better judgment to stick to the tradition of not contesting a byelection caused by an MLA’s death. However, former MP and veteran Congressman Chinta Mohan insisted upon fighting the by-election and fielding Ms. Sreedevi. Mr. Chinta Mohan was the only campaigner of note though was later joined by PCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy and ex-Minister S. Shailajanath.

Incidentally, Mrs. Sreedivi had switched to the Congress before the general elections in 2014 after being an active TDP activist for nearly a decade. Around the same time, the late Venkataramana had jumped into the TDP bandwagon and successfully contested the Assembly election in May last year.

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