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Post Nandyal bypolls, TDP and YSRCP continue campaigning, set tone for 2019 elections

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-09-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: More than a month after the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) won the Nandyal by-election in Andhra Pradesh, the party and its rival YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) continue to be in campaign mode, with the 2019 general election in their crosshairs.

While the TDP reconstituted its state, central and polit bureau committees last week, the YSRCP which is running a membership drive called YSR Kutumbam has claimed that about 54 lakh people have signed up since its 2 September launch.

“Campaigning has already begun for 2019 (elections) and the party has removed and included new faces and spokespersons in the committees which were formed last three years ago before the 2014 general elections,” said a TDP functionary said, asking not to be identified.

He added that the TDP also held a two-day workshop for its leaders including MLAs and cabinet ministers, with those who had worked for the Nandyal by-election and the Kakinada municipal corporation elections to anaylze and understand how the party won a majority in both. “We are also publicizing projects undertaken by the AP state government as part of our campaign,” the TDP functionary stated.

In the Nandyal constituency, which falls under Kurnool district, the TDP got 97,076 votes against the YSRCP’s 69,610 votes. In the Kakinada municipal elections, which were held just days after the by-election (held 23 August), the TDP and its alliance partner the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 32 and 3 divisions, out of the total 48 divisions. The YSRCP bagged 10 divisions, while the remaining three were won by independent candidates.

Meanwhile, YSR Kutumbam is currently in its last leg. All the work, including mobilizing public support and party cadres are to be completed before 2 October, when YSRCP chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy will begin a six-month long ‘padayatra’ in AP.

G. Srikanth Reddy, YSRCP MLA from the Rayachoty seat in AP, said his party will also publicize projects which were completed during the late chief minister of AP (joint, including Telangana) Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s tenure. He alleged that the ruling TDP had misused its power and even held caste-meetings to win the Nandyal by-election.

Under YSR Kutumbam, cadres will go door to door asking people to answer in ‘yes or no’ if Naidu has delivered on his key promises, said a press release from the party last week. Jagan Mohan Reddy also held a review of the programme on 24 September along with party leaders.

The TDP functionary also informed that greater focus will be on the Rayalaseema region (Anantapur, Chittoor, Cudappah and Kurnool districts), which has 52 of the total of 175 assembly constituencies in AP. “Last time, we got only 21 seats from there,” he added.

At present, the TDP has over 123 MLAs in the assembly, including the 21 who defected from the YSRCP (which won 67 seats in the 2014 general elections), while its ally, the BJP has four MLAs in AP. 

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