Telugu Desam Party (TDP) candidate Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy won the Nandyal bye-election by over 27,000 votes, but he could still lose his seat. This, however, boils down to his total poll campaign expenditure exceeding the limit set by the Election Commission.
On August 26, the Election Commission took the decision to add the expenses incurred by TDP’s star campaigners to Brahmananda Reddy’s campaign account after the party failed to submit its list of star campaigners within a week of the poll notification. The TDP submitted its list, which included names of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and actor Balakrishna, almost two weeks after the bypoll date was announced.
The Indian Express first reported that the Brahmananda Reddy assumed the Election Commission approved the list despite the late submission, after one of its officials “inadvertently” uploaded it on its website. However, the Election Commission removed the list after Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal highlighted the error.
With the Election Commission setting Rs 28 lakh as the expenditure limit for the Nandyal seat, Brahmananda Reddy could exceed it and hurt his chances of retaining his family seat.
Now, Brahmananda Reddy’s victory can be challenged through an election petition and the court could set it aside. This means that YSRCP candidate Silpa Chandra Mohan Reddy will be declared as the winner.
The Nandyal bypoll was necessitated after MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy died of a heart attack in March. He was elected on a YSR Congress ticket in 2014 but switched loyalties and joined the TDP in last year. The TDP had fielded his nephew Brahmananda Reddy, 32, while the YSR Congress has fielded TDP rebel Silpa Chandra Mohan Reddy.