By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA:  Curtains are drawn on campaigning for elections to urban local bodies in the State. The campaign witnessed a war of words between the ruling YSRC and Opposition TDP. State Ministers and MPs spearheaded the YSRC campaign with V Vijayasai Reddy camping in Visakhapatnam overseeing electioneering for GVMC poll. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh led the party campaign in Kurnool, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Machilipatnam and Ongole. 

As these are the first elections being held on party symbols after general elections in 2019, more particularly after the YSRC government’s decision to have three capitals as part of its plan to decentralise development in the State, both the YSRC and TDP have laid emphasis on polls to Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Guntur Municipal Corporations as winning them will be seen as a referendum on their respective stands on the capital issue.

While the YSRC is keen on emerging victorious in Visakhapatnam to show that its plan to have the city as executive capital has public mandate, the TDP has concentrated on Guntur and Vijayawada, which have proximity to capital Amaravati, to show that the people are opposed to the government’s proposal to “relocate”  the capital. 

The YSRC, on the other hand, by winning Guntur and Vijayawada corporations also wants to make a point that its move to locate executive capital in Visakhapatnam is not opposed by the people of Amaravati. In short, this is a battle for vindication.Vijayasai held a series of meetings with different caste associations in Vizag to garner their support to the YSRC. 

Win in V’wada, Guntur vital for TDP

After the TDP drubbing in the recently held gram panchayat elections, Naidu took part in electioneering in the Port City for two days  and tried to raise the issue of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant privatisation and blamed the YSRC government for it. The former Chief Minister also cautioned the people that voting for the YSRC was nothing but giving licence to rowdyism in the peaceful Vizag city.

Naidu’s tone and tenor in the campaign in Guntur and Vijayawada changed. He made an apparent bid to instigate the Amaravati sentiment among the people during the electioneering in the two cities. Departing from his routine style of speeches, Naidu went to the extent of asking people as to whether they have lost their wisdom and ability to resist the YSRC government’s policies and plans to relocate the capital from Amaravati. 

He even went to the extent of saying voting for the YSRC was nothing but voting in favour of three capitals.A senior TDP leader said though every civic body is important for the party in the elections, it laid more emphasis on winning the three municipal corporations. “If we lose Vijayawada, it will be seen as the people of the region are also in favour of three capitals. Hence, Naidu did his best to inject the Amaravati sentiment to the people during his roadshows in Vijayawada and Guntur,’’ he added.

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