Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy cancels visit to Tirupati for Lok Sabha byelection campaign as COVID cases increase

Published : April 12, 2021 12:12 IST

Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The galloping COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh, especially in the southern district of Chittoor, has forced Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to cancel his election meeting in Tirupati scheduled for April 14. He was to campaign for the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party’s candidate M. Gurumoorthy for the Tirupati Lok Sabha byelection. The byelections to this reserved constituency is scheduled for April 17.

In a letter addressed to voters of the constituency, Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote: “Health and happiness is of utmost importance for me. Therefore, being a responsible Chief Minister, I have decided to cancel my trip to the poll-bound constituency.” The letter went on to state: “As you all must be aware, I was hoping to reach out to each of you personally on April 14 by means of a public meeting that was scheduled. However, I'm having to write this letter after having a look at the latest health bulletin. The health of every single citizen matters to me.”

The byelection was necessitated by the untimely death of YSR Congress Party MP Balli Durga Prasad in 2020 after contracting Covid-19. The Tirupati byelection will be the YSR Congress Party’s first major battle at the hustings in Andhra Pradesh after the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The ruling dispensation scored significant and landslide victories in the recently concluded rural and urban local body elections routing the Telugu Desam Party, the main opposition party in the State.

Jagan Mohan Reddy’s decision to cancel his visit to the constituency has, however, not stopped him from canvassing for Gurumoorthy, a physiotherapist who had walked along with the Chief Minister on his 3,600-km-long ‘praja sankalp yatra’ that propelled Jagan Mohan Reddy and the YSRCP to power in Andhra Pradesh in the 2019 Assembly election.

Highlighting his government’s welfare programmes over the last 22 months, Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote: “Dear voter of Tirupati, my letter urging you to vote for our candidate Gurumoorthy in the upcoming Tirupati Lok Sabha byelection must have reached you. Even if I personally do not campaign or request for votes in public meetings, I know that for your children, sisters, villages and towns, for our Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Backward Classes and minority brothers and sisters, for our elders, you will support our government.” He reminded voters of the personal letter he had written to each family listing the welfare schemes they had benefited from.