TDP’s Palle is Puttaparthi segment’s strongman

TDP’s Palle is Puttaparthi segment’s strongman

The Assembly constituency of Puttaparthi is lesser known as a political segment and it is known worldwide as a spiritual destination due to the...

Puttaparthi (Anantapur): The Assembly constituency of Puttaparthi is lesser known as a political segment and it is known worldwide as a spiritual destination due to the presence of Prashanthi Nilayam, established by Sathya Sai Baba, a god-man of reputation. It was once the home for international tourists.

Puttaparthi as a modern town with hundreds of villas and farm house estates owes its development to the presence of institutions and service organisations established by the Sathya Sai Baba Central Trust.

The constituency population is 2.57 lakh and its voters are 1.81 lakh. Usually, votes polled were around 1.5 lakh votes on an average in any election. Until 1999, Puttaparthi came under Nallamada segment and by 2004 the constituency was reorganised into Puttaparthi Assembly constituency.

Puttaparthi has more of a floating population on any given day. The present MLA of Puttaparthi is Palle Raghunatha Reddy, an educationist running scores of institutions for over four decades and has had earned a name as an educationist and social worker. He is soft spoken and has many admirers. He first became an MLA in 1999 from Nallamada on TDP ticket. He lost to Congress in 2004 and in 2009 he returned as an MLA from Puttaparthi constituency.

The Nallamada segment was re-christened as Puttaparthi Assembly constituency in 2009. Again in 2014, he successfully contested against the YSRCP candidate Chintaparthi Somasekhar Reddy and won by a margin of 6,901 votes. Palle also served as an MLC in 2007. During the years 1978, 1989 and 2004, the Congress Party MLAs represented Nallamada constituency while the TDP represented it in the years 1985, 1994 and 1985.

After the State bifurcation in 2014, Congress lost its vote bank to YSRCP party. In 2014 elections, YSRCP candidate Somasekhar Reddy polled 69,946 votes and lost by a slender margin of 6,964 votes. In the 2019 Assembly elections, Raghunatha Reddy will be contesting once again from Puttaparthi segment unless party president N Chandrababu Naidu decides to make any changes in nomination of candidates and constituencies.
Palle served as a cabinet minister for over 2 years as IT and I&PR, Minorities and cultural affairs etc.

The YSRCP which lost by a narrow margin is expected to field a new candidate. There are two aspirants from YSRCP for the Puttaparthi party ticket. D Sridhar Reddy, the YSRCP coordinator for Puttaparthi is likely to be fielded. Also, another leader Srikanth Reddy is also aspiring for the party ticket. Both the YSRCP and TDP candidates are from the same community.

While Palle is confident that his performance as well as the host of new welfare initiatives would see him through and boost his winning chances, The YSRCP feels that the anti-incumbency factor and the under-current is in favour of YSRCP.

A clear picture would emerge once the candidates are declared by the mainline parties TDP and YSRCP. Also, the district which has a sizable BC population are waiting to see which party would field whom as Jana Sena party is likely to field BC candidates in several constituencies.

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