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Amid clash among rivals, misfire by bodyguard leaves TDP candidate injured

TDP candidate Tikka Reddy received a bullet injury when his security personnel misfired a weapon trying to control a clash that had broken out during his campaign in his rival’s native village in Andhra Pradesh.

andhra pradesh elections Updated: Mar 16, 2019 13:20 IST
Gali Nagaraja
Gali Nagaraja
Hindustan Times, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh,Telugu Desam Party,Andhra Pradesh assembly election
TDP leader P Tikka Reddy is being shifted to a hospital after he was hit by a bullet during election campaign in Mantralayam assembly constituency of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.(HT photo)

Ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) candidate P Tikka Reddy on Saturday sustained a bullet injury in his thigh when a firearm of his security personnel misfired during election campaign in an Andhra Pradesh village.

He was on his campaign trail in faction-hit Rayalaseema region, where supporters of Tikka Reddy and his YSR Congress rival Y Balanagi Reddy clashed during electioneering. Trouble broke out when Tikka Reddy entered Kaggallu, the native village of his YSR Congress rival.

Tikka Reddy is contesting from his Mantralayam Assembly constituency in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Balanagi Reddy is currently sitting law maker from Mantralayam.

Balanagi Reddy’s supporters attempted to prevent Tikka Reddy from campaigning in the village leading to clash between the two groups. The TDP leader was pushed by the rival group and in the process he fell on the ground forcing the gunmen to open fire in the air to quell the mob, the police said. The gunmen attached with the TDP candidate fired six rounds in the air to bring situation under control.

In the process, a weapon belonging to one of the gunmen misfired injuring Tikka Reddy and an assistant sub-inspector Gopala Rao. A bleeding MLA was taken to a hospital, where he was said to be out of danger. Gopala Rao, attached to Madhapuram police station, was taken to another hospital.

There is an unwritten rule in Kurnool and Kadapa districts prohibiting rival political leaders from campaigning in the areas controlled by the other group. The region is a hotbed of faction feuds.

Tikka Reddy accused Balanagi Reddy of instigating attack on him and denying his right to campaign in election. He said Balanagi is “nervous” over his growing popularity among the voters. Balanagi Reddy could not be reached for his comment.

Both Tikka Reddy and Balanagi Reddy have been switched sides in the past. Balanagi Reddy was elected to the assembly of united Andhra Pradesh as TDP MLA in 2009 from Mantralayam. Later he first defected to the Congress when late YS Rajasekhar was the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He is now with YSR Congress led by late Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s son YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

Tikka was with the Congress and joined the TDP ahead of 2014 elections, when he unsuccessfully fought assembly polls from Mantralayam assembly constituency against Balanagi Reddy. The two Reddys are crossing swords in the upcoming assembly election on April 11 along with the first phase of parliamentary polls.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 13:20 IST