YSRC’s strategy to field deceased MLA’s widow gives them edge in Badvel bypoll

The by-election to Badvel constituency is necessitated owing to the sudden demise of sitting YSRC MLA Dr Gunthoti Venkata Subbaiah in March due to illness.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister and YSR Congress Party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. (File photo)
Andhra Pradesh chief minister and YSR Congress Party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. (File photo)
Updated on Oct 30, 2021 12:07 AM IST
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It’s advantage for ruling YSR Congress party in the bypoll to Badvel constituency in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district, with primary opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) opting out of the contest and two other contenders – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress not having enough strength to fight the battle.

The by-election to Badvel is necessitated owing to the sudden demise of sitting YSRC MLA Dr Gunthoti Venkata Subbaiah in March due to illness. The party has fielded Subbaiah’s widow Dasari Sudha, a practising doctor, to cash in on the sympathy factor. Moreover, Kadapa has been the bastion of YSRC led by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and in the last elections, the party swept all the 10 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats in the district.

Badvel has been the stronghold of YSRC, with the party representing the constituency for the last two terms. Evidently, it has the advantage over others in winning the bypoll scheduled for October 30.

Interestingly, the TDP initially announced the candidature of Obulapuram Rajasekhar, who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections, for the Badvel seat. He, however, opted out of the bypoll battle after YSRC announced the candidature of deceased MLAs’ widow.

“As per the tradition established by the TDP itself, we don’t want to contest the by-elections, if the spouse of a sitting MLA is fielded by the rival party,” TDP state president K Atchannaidu said.

Jana Sena Party established by popular Tollywood actor Pawan Kalyan declared that it would fight the bypolls with the help of its alliance partner BJP, but the party also dropped out from the contest on grounds that it would follow the convention of not fielding candidate against the spouse of the deceased MLA.

But BJP sprang a surprise on its alliance partner by jumping into the fray and fielding Panthala Suresh, who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 elections from Railway Koduru constituency. Similarly, the Congress also fielded former MLA PM Kamalamma, who represented Badvel from 2009 to 2014.

However, both the BJP and the Congress have not been strong enough to fight against the YSRC. The Congress has completely lost its ground in the state post bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and has been drawing blank both in the assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections since 2014. Most of its leaders and cadre have already defected to the YSRC.

Similarly, the BJP has little base in the southern state, though it won a few seats earlier due to the alliance with the TDP in the past. Yet, it wants to put up the fight in Badvel as part of its long-term plan to grow as a political alternative to the YSRC.

Several BJP leaders including state party president Somu Veerraju, BJP national general secretary Daggubati Purandeshwari, BJP national in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Sunil Deodhar, MPs CM Ramesh and GVL Narasimha Rao and BJP state secretary Satya Kumar have been campaigning for their candidate in Badvel for the last few days.

Though Jana Sena has been the alliance partner of the BJP, it has stayed away from the campaign as a matter of principle. That is also a negative factor for the BJP. “But the Jana Sena Party cadres will vote for the BJP. Even the TDP cadres are also expected to vote for the BJP candidate, as they definitely won’t vote for YSRC candidate,” a state BJP leader said.

As the YSRC is sitting pretty in the Badvel constituency, it is not sweating it out much in the campaign. Party president and chief minister Reddy stayed away from campaign but wrote open letters to all the voters asking them to give a huge majority to YSRC candidate in the by-election.

Number of votersNumber of candidates in frayYSRC candidateBJP candidateCongress candidateReason for bypoll
216,139 (107,340 are women and 108,799 are men)17Dasari SudhaPanthala SureshPM KamalammaDemise of sitting MLA Dr G Venkata Subbaiah due to illness in March this year
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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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