TIRUPATI: As COVID cases have been increasing in both Chittoor and Nellore districts for the past one week, political parties are devising new campaign strategies for the April 17 Tirupati by-election.TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi, who filed her nomination papers on Wednesday, and YSRC candidate Dr M Gurumoorthy have kicked off their election campaign.
Tirupati urban areas have been recording more positive cases in the last one week. Now, political parties are planning to continue their campaign in the rural areas. Of the 175 Covid cases reported in Chittoor district on Thursday, 59 are from the Tirupati urban areas.
Initially, various parties conducted door-to-door canvassing, organised rallies and various programmes in Tirupati city. The BJP organised state-level meetings in Tirupati. Now, major political parties are holding only meetings of leaders and secondary cadre in Tirupati.
There are more chances of virus spread in thickly populated Sullurpeta, Naidupeta, Venkatagiri, Tirupati, Srikalahasthi urban areas. The major parties have been conducting their campaign based in Nellore now.
Panabaka Lakshmi has been campaigning in Sarvepalli and Gudur segments, where most of the rural areas are free from the virus. The parties have not planned any huge gatherings, keeping the situation in view.
TDP sources said that they were following COVID safety protocol during the campaign. “Party leaders and cadre are wearing face masks and using sanitisers frequently during the campaign. We didn’t organise any huge gatherings and maintain social distance during the campaign,” a TDP leader explained.
Meanwhile, voters are in the grip of fear due to the spike in the number of cases. “Political leaders from various parties have been visiting our areas for the last 10 days. News of the second COVID wave is frightening us. Even some of the cadre are not wearing face masks and distributing pamphlets,” said K Sukumar, a resident of Sullurpeta.