Clashes between TDP and YSRCP workers mar polling in Andhra Pradesh

Amravati: Violence marred polling in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, which claimed the life of one Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader S Bhaskar Reddy, while many others were injured in the poll-related clashes.

TDP leader Reddy was killed during clashes at Tadipatri town. TDP leaders have accused the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) workers of killing Reddy. Tadipatri is a stronghold of controversial TDP leader J C Diwakar Reddy, whose son Pawan Kumar was in the fray on TDP ticket.

Clashes broke out between the workers of TDP and YSRCP at a polling station in Srinivasapuram village of Gurajala assembly constituency in Guntur district while the polling was underway.

YSRCP supporters alleged that the TDP cadres forcefully stopped one of their supporters outside the polling booth when the voting was going on. When YSRCP supporters opposed, a clash erupted among them in which electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other polling materials were destroyed.

Former Speaker and TDP leader Kodela Siva Prasad Rao was badly attacked by YSRCP supporters at Yanamatla village, where he had gone to see the polling.

In another incident, TDP supporters attacked YSRCP leader A Anil Kumar Reddy at Mitta Meeda Palle town in Rajampet Mandal of Kadapa. YSRCP workers alleged that TDP workers prevented them from entering nearby villages.

Clashes were also reported from Kolla Vari Palle and Savana Vari Palle villages. TDP workers allegedly abused YSRCP leader Meda Mallikarjuna Reddy and prevented him from entering the polling booth.

At Gudem Cheruvu town of Kadapa district, TDP and YSRCP supporters clashed in which one YSRCP worker was injured. He was shifted to the nearby hospital for treatment.

A tense situation also prevailed for some time at Machilipatnam, following a verbal altercation between workers of YSRCP and JSP. The police intervened immediately and controlled the situation.
TDP and the YSRCP workers clashed at Ramanakkapeta village in Nuzividu assembly constituency. The police immediately intervened to restore normalcy.

Earlier in the day, in a letter to Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) RP Thakur, TDP president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu stated that the polling agents of YSRCP were resorting to violence and obstructing the polling process.

“There is a lot of violence in Kadapa, Anantapuram, and Kurnool and Nellore districts…In certain cases, they have even damaged the polling materials like EVMs and threatening polling personnel to allow them to rig votes.”

“Controlling law and order situation and ensuring peaceful conduct of poll is of immediate necessity…I request you to instruct all the Superintendents of Police and other law enforcing agencies to strictly control the law and order and arrest the culprits and take stringent action against the persons responsible,” Naidu stated in the letter.

Andhra Pradesh, which went to polls on Thursday to elect 25 members of the Lok Sabha and 175 members of the State Legislative Assembly, recorded over 54 per cent polling till 5 pm. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.(