TIRUPATI: Riding high on its landslide victory in the recent urban local body and gram panchayat polls, the YSRC is confident of winning the April 17 Tirupati Lok Sabha by-election. YSRC leaders say the party will win the seat with at least 3 lakh votes’ majority. The by-election was necessitated following the death of sitting MP Balli Durgaprasad Rao in September 2019.
TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi has already started her campaign. Dr M Gurumoorthy is the YSRC candidate. The BJP is yet to announce its candidate. The SC reserved constituency extends over Gudur, Sarvepalli, Venkatagiri and Sullurpeta in Nellore district and Srikalahasti, Satyavedu and Tirupati segments in Chittoor district. In the 2019 general elections, the YSRC won all the four assembly segments in Nellore district and three constituencies in Chittoor district under the Tirupati parliamentary segment.
Panabaka Lakshmi, who was with the Congress, served as MP from Nellore LS constituency between 1996 and 98, 1998 and 99, and 2004 and 2009. Subsequently, she shifted to the Bapatla LS constituency and won the polls in 2009. She joined the TDP before the 2019 elections and contested from Tirupati constituency where she was defeated by Balli Durgaprasad Rao by over 2.28 lakh votes.
In the 2019 election, of the 12,87734 votes polled, Durga Prasad got 7,22,87. After the sudden demise of
the Tirupati MP, his son Balli Chakravarthy tipped to be the candidate, but he was elected to legislative council recently. Speaking to TNIE, Panabaka Lakshmi said, “People need change. They are vexed with the YSRC regime and the Tirupati by-poll will be the stepping stone for the defeat of the ruling party.” She expressed confidence of her victory.
Meanwhile, the BJP, which has been facing some issues on the ground with the protests across the State against Centre’s decision to privatise the Vizag Steel Plant, is banking on the developed works done by the Centre in the temple town. “The funds for the development works going on in the constituency was allotted by the Centre. Tirupati will get more funds from the Centre if people elect a BJP-JSP candidate in the ensuing bypoll,” said BJP leader Samanchi Srinivas.