Fate of Dharmana, Kolagatla depends more on postal ballots?

The huge turnout of postal ballots seems to have created tension among the YSRC contestants.
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SRIKAKULAM/VIZIANAGARAM: Postal ballots are likely to play a vital role in the electoral fortunes of contestants in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram as all the Assembly constituencies in the two districts have witnessed a tough fight between the YSRC and the TDP-led NDA. The huge turnout of postal ballots seems to have created tension among the YSRC contestants as there is an apprehension that government employees might have voted against the party due to anti-incumbency.

Srikakulam and Vizianagaram Assembly segments witnessed a surge in government employees voting through postal ballots in the just concluded elections. According to official figures, 4,882 postal ballots were polled in Srikakulam and 4,201 in Vizianagaram Assembly segments, where Revenue Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao and Deputy Assembly Speaker Kolagatla Veerabhadra Swamy are in the fray.

Dharmana won against Gunda Lakshmi Devi of TDP with a slender margin of 5,777 votes from Srikakulam in the last elections. Now, Dharmana is said to have faced a tough fight from Gondu Shankar of TDP. Though Shankar seems to be a weak candidate compared to Dharmana, he may get benefited from anti-incumbency vote. Srikakulam Assembly segment comprises the Srikakulam Municipal Corporation and Gara mandal, where the urban population is high. According to political analysts, the anti-incumbency factor may be more in urban pockets, compared to rural areas, which is a disadvantage to Dharmana.

Similarly, Kolagatla won against Aditi Vijayalakshmi Gajapathi Raju Pusapati of TDP with a small margin of 6,417 votes from Vizianagaram Assembly segment in 2019. Again the electoral battle is between the two leaders. Vizianagaram Assembly segment comprises the Vizianagaram Municipal Corporation and Vizianagaram rural mandal with significant number of urban population. It is quite normal that the anti-incumbency will be more in urban pockets. However, Kolagatla is confident that employees would have cast their votes for him due to his personal attachment irrespective of his party affiliation.

Speaking to TNIE, Dharmana said, “I do not think that the government employees will vote against the YSRC, which is committed to their welfare. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his friendly media have portrayed the YSRC government as anti-employee. I am confident that the government employees would have given their mandate to the YSRC as I have good ties with them.”

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