This Article is From May 07, 2014

'Will Make a Clean Sweep', Says Jagan Reddy as Seemandhra Votes

Jagan Mohan Reddy

Hyderabad: Over 51 per cent voting has been reported till 1 pm in Seemandhra, the regions that will, starting June 2, form the downsized state of Andhra Pradesh.

Voters will pick 25 members of Parliament and 175 state law-makers in what is largely a contest between two regional powerhouses - the veteran Chandrababu Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy, whose fledgling party derives considerable strength and popularity from the legacy of his famous father, YSR, who died in 2009 while he was chief minister. (For Seemandhra's High-Stakes Election, More (Money) is More)

On Wednesday, Jagan Reddy, 41, voted early in Kadapa, dominated by his family for many years and told NDTV, "I am going to make a clean sweep." His wife Bharti and sister YS Sharmila, standing together in a serpentine queue to vote, dismissed former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu as no threat to Jagan.

Mr Naidu, 65, has linked his Telugu Desam Party or TDP to the BJP. Mr Reddy's new YSR Congress is contesting the election without a partner. (India Votes 2014: Schedule | Candidates)

Mr Naidu, who was chief minister a decade ago, is aware that this election offers him the strongest chance at a comeback in years. The BJP is being forecast to win the maximum seats in the national election. Mr Naidu hopes to gain from that momentum. (India Votes 2014: Full Coverage)

He has talked about his years of experience versus Jagan Reddy's inexperience in office. He has also repeatedly attacked his young rival over the charges of corruption that he faces.

For Jagan Mohan, who was jailed for 16 months on those corruption charges, an electoral triumph would offer the chance to proclaim that voters believe in his innocence; it could also alter the pace of the investigation against him.

Meanwhile, TDP candidate from Vijayawada K Srinivas, said, "It will be more than a landlide victory for BJP-TDP."

Mr Reddy is the sitting MP from Kadapa, but is contesting Assembly elections for the first time with an eye on the post of Chief Minister of the downsized Andhra Pradesh. He is contesting from Pulivendula, one of the Assembly constituencies in Kadapa.

Chandrababu Naidu is seeking re-election from his Kuppam Assembly constituency in Chittoor, which he has represented since 1989.

Seemandhra had vociferously opposed bifurcation of the state to carve out Telangana, and the ruling Congress is expected to be punished here for that decision.