Day after polling in Andhra, violence rages on

Day after polling in Andhra, violence rages on

TIRUPATI/GUNTUR/ANANTAPUR: Even as polling ended, tension prevailed in parts of the State, particularly in Tirupati, Palnadu and Tadipatri of Sri Sathya Sai district, keeping the police on tenterhooks.

While alleged YSRC activists attacked a TDP candidate in Tirupati, prompting the gunman of the leader to open fire, supporters of the two parties pelted stones on each other in Tadipatri, forcing police to resort to lathicharge and fire teargas to quell the mob.

In Tirupati, TDP’s Chandragiri Assembly candidate Pulivarthi Nani sustained injuries following an attack by miscreants, suspected to be supporters of the YSRC, on the premises of Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam.

According to eyewitnesses, the clash erupted after Nani inspected the strong room located on the university campus and encountered a group of YSRC activists.

What began as a verbal altercation, swiftly escalated into physical violence, with the YSRC workers reportedly wielding hammers, beer bottles, and stones in the assault. Nani’s gunman Dharani fired two warning shots into the air, dispersing the attackers.

Subsequently, a video featuring Nani’s spouse, Sudha, detailing the attack and implicating YSRC activists and followers of YSRC MLA Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy, circulated widely on social media platforms.

As news spread, Nani’s supporters gathered to protest against the unprovoked attack on their leader. The protest intensified as Nani’s supporters occupied the university’s main thoroughfare, impeding vehicular movement.

The situation deteriorated as enraged demonstrators vandalised a car displaying YSRC flags and setting several motorcycles on fire.

To quell the escalating violence, a force of security personnel was dispatched to the area, who caned the unruly crowds. The TDP cadres resisted police action and retaliated by vandalising police vehicles. They accused police of being biased towards Bhaskar Reddy.

District authorities, including Collector Pravin Kumar and Superintendent of Police Krishna Kant Patil, rushed to the scene and asserted that appropriate action will be taken against the perpetrators.

While speaking to media, Nani questioned the authorities’ competence in safeguarding the election process, given the brazen attack within the premises of the strong room. Nani also raised concerns over the safety of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). 

In faction-ridden Tadipatri constituency, sitting MLA Kethireddy Pedda Reddy visited a private hospital where a party supporter who was injured in Monday’s violence was being treated. Later, the MLA went to local TDP leader Suryamuni’s residence and assaulted the leader.

Soon, former MLA and Tadipatri municipal chairperson JC Prabhakar Reddy reached Suryamuni’s residence and consoled the leader. Prabhakar Reddy and others went to the local police station circle and staged a dharna demanding action. Later, they allegedly proceeded towards Pedda Reddy’s residence, but were obstructed by the police.

The YSRC supporters also gathered in huge numbers and both sides pelted stones on each other. An additional SP, circle inspector and a constable were injured while trying to control the mob.

The situation was brought under control after the police lobbed tear gas. But the warring groups regrouped and attacked each other. Additional forces were rushed, following which the situation came under control after three hours.

In retaliation to the attack on TDP leader Pulivarthi Nani, party activists staged a demonstration at Sri Padmavathi Mahila Visva Vidyalayam 

Tension prevailed at various places in the Palnadu region, including Macherla, Gurazala and Narasaraopet Assembly segments for the second consecutive day. Multiple instances of violence and disruptions were reported, involving members of the TDP and YSRC.

The atmosphere was particularly tense in Karampudi village in Macherla as clashes broke out between TDP and YSRC members when MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy visited the village. The local TDP office was destroyed and a car was set afire. Additional forces were rushed to restore normalcy.

Following the attack of TDP members on Narasaraopet MLA Dr Gopireddy Srinivasa Reddy, police imposed Section 144 and additional forces were deployed in the town. The officials conducted a flag march in the town to prevent any untoward incidents.

Panic gripped the villagers of Pedda Ganeshunipadu village in Gurazala mandal as TDP activists gathered in huge numbers after local MLA Kasu Mahesh Reddy and MP candidate Anil Kumar Yadav visited the village to console the families of YSRC members who got injured in Monday’s clashes.

Speaking to media, Anil Kumar said though they informed the SP and DIG about the chances of clashes in the village in advance, they did not respond swiftly. The police department has failed to conduct the elections peacefully in Palnadu and demanded ECI to take necessary action against the concerned officials.

Narasaraopet MLA Srinivasa Reddy alleged that while the TDP leaders were left to freely roam on streets and threaten the public, he was detained by police.

TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu strongly condemned the attack on Pulavarthi Nani by YSRC activists and also denounced the violence in Macherla and Tadipatri Assembly constituencies. He sought the Election Commission of India to intervene and take immediate action

Minister for Water Resources Ambati Rambabu complained to the Election Commission of India about the violent incidents that took place in Palnadu region and demanded re-polling in six polling booths under the Sattenapalli segment. He claimed that rigging took place in two polling booths

Police firing tear gas shells to control the mob in Tadipatri Photo I Express