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BJP plans to use caste card in Tirupati Lok Sabha by-poll
- Party candidate and former CS of Karnataka K Ratna Prabha belongs to the Madiga sub-caste
- The YSRCP and TDP candidates represent the Mala sub-community
- In the LS constituency, the Madiga population is more in Satyavedu in Chittoor district; Gudur, Sullurpet, and Sarvepalli constituencies in Nellore district
- BJP leaders aim to tap the Madiga votes in the constituency
Nellore: BJP, this time, is going to rely on caste-card in the ensuing Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll which bagged the least position in the last elections. It may be recalled that retired Chief Secretary of Karnataka K Ratna Prabha has been chosen as the candidate and she filed her nomination papers in Nellore on Monday.
Tirupati LS seat is reserved for the SCs and Ratna Prabha belongs to Madiga sub-caste to face the TDP and YSR Congress, candidates, Panabaka Lakshmi and DR Gurumoorty, who belong to the Mala sub-caste.
In fact, the TDP candidate is also from the Mala community even though Lakshmi is familiar with the State by virtue of serving as Union Minister earlier. Dr Gurumoorthy is new to politics and belongs to the Mala sub-caste where the BJP is planning to divide both SC and ST votes aiming to tap votes of TDP and reduce the majority to the ruling party candidate.
In the Tirupati LS constituency, the Madiga population is more in Satyavedu in Chittoor district; Gudur, Sullurpet, and Sarvepalli constituencies in Nellore district. BJP leaders are going to act strategically to tap the Madiga votes in the constituency as the candidate belongs to the same community.
In the 2019 general election, ruling party candidate Balli Durga Prasad Rao bagged 7,22,877 votes, TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi secured 4,94,501 votes, NOTA 25,781, Congress candidate Chinta Mohan 24,039, BSP candidate DR D Srihari Rao 20,971 and BJP candidate B Srihari Rao 16,125 votes.
Ruling party candidate Durga Prasad Rao bagged a majority of 2,28,376 votes and the least votes were polled to the BJP candidate in the elections. NOTA received more votes than the Congress and BJP candidates. To revert the situation, BJP tactfully fielded the candidate from Madiga sub-caste which is having comfortable votes in the constituency for showing its presence. In the Assembly polls also the ruling party bagged all seats in the LS constituency in which Gudur, Sullurpet, and Satyavedu are reserved constituencies.
"There are significant votes from Madiga community in the LS constituency and hence the BJP is planning to tap them. We are now focussing on the ST votes in villages for better voting percentage initially and then take over the constituency. We have to tie up with the Jana Sena, and it is their choice whether join hands with us in the poll campaign or not," said a senior leader from the BJP.
In fact, even though there is a tie-up with the BJP, Jana Sena leaders are maintaining distance with them saying 'no directions from the high command. Interestingly, Jana Sena leaders were away from the nomination process of the BJP candidate on Monday. A party senior leader said they are still waiting for a clear decision of the party.