Will YS Sharmila Reddy win or forfeit her deposit?

Though the Congress lacked strong cadre, Sharmila’s charisma and the reported cross-voting by YSRC and TDP supporters are said to have boosted her election prospects.
YS Sharmila Reddy
YS Sharmila Reddy

KADAPA: As the counting day nears, intense anticipation and speculation have gripped the two Telugu States over whether YS Sharmila Reddy, APCC chief and Kadapa Lok Sabha candidate, will emerge victorious or end up forfeiting her deposit in the election.

The high-stakes election has witnessed a triangular contest among Sharmila, sitting MP and YSRC candidate YS Avinash Reddy, and TDP nominee Chadipiralla Bhupesh Subbarami Reddy.

She campaigned extensively on the issue of securing justice for her uncle YS Vivekananda Reddy’s murder. Stating that Rajanna’s daughter is seeking justice for the injustice meted out to her family, Sharmila traversed the entire constituency twice over 15 days, appealing to voters to support her quest for justice. Her mother YS Vijayamma also released a video urging voters to elect Sharmila.

The election has gained prominence as for the first time a member of the YSR family contested the MP seat from outside the YSRC fold since the State bifurcation.

Though the Congress lacked strong cadre, Sharmila’s charisma and the reported cross-voting by YSRC and TDP supporters are said to have boosted her election prospects. Her invocation of being YSR’s daughter resonated with many voters cutting across party lines.

As the counting day is fast approaching, the stakes have intensified with crores of rupees being bet across the two Telugu States on whether Sharmila will win, merely secure her deposit or forfeit it. For a candidate to avoid forfeiting the deposit, he needs to secure at least 16% of the total valid votes polled.

The Kadapa parliamentary constituency comprising Kadapa, Mydukur, Badvel, Proddatur, Jammalamadugu, Kamalapuram and Pulivendula Assembly segments, has a total electorate of 16,27,356. Of the total, 13,04,256 voters exercised their franchise in the election held on May 13.

The YSR family split into two following Vivekananda Reddy’s murder, with Sharmila, Vivekananda’s wife Soubhagya, and daughter Suneetha on one side, and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Avinash Reddy and the majority of the family members on the other.

For the first time in 35 years, two members of the YSR family vied for the MP seat.

Sharmila’s campaign focused extensively on her uncle’s murder, making emotional appeals and seeking sympathy votes. Her husband Anil Kumar also campaigned for her in various churches, while Rahul Gandhi addressed an election meeting.

As Sharmila repeatedly raised the Vivekananda Reddy murder issue, YSRC district president K Suresh Babu obtained an injunction from the court restraining her from mentioning the case. Jagan also campaigned extensively across the constituency.

Sharmila’s hopes rest on cross-voting with reports of YSRC and TDP supporters casting their votes for her as well as Muslim and Christian communities extending their support to the Congress nominee. Political analysts are eagerly waiting for the election results to assess the extent of Sharmila’s vote share, the impact of her charisma, and the implications on her political future.

The intense suspense over Sharmila’s fate, whether she will win or forfeit her deposit will end on June 4 when the results are announced.

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The New Indian Express