April 6, 2019 12:57:21 am
Last week, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao skipped a public meeting at L B Stadium in Hyderabad as the crowd was thin. On Friday, about 100 people sat on a dharna in Khammam town after a local TRS leader failed to give them the promised money for attending a public meeting addressed by KCR on Thursday. Meanwhile, in Andhra Pradesh, YSRCP election managers are worried that candidates and local leaders are being miserly. Leaders and candidates of both TRS and YSRCP are apparently confident that a KCR wave in Telangana and Jagan Mohan Reddy wave in Andhra Pradesh will sweep them to victory, and hence are not spending enough money.
Sources in the parties said that since the EC and police are being extra vigilant and seizing cash, candidates are not moving large amounts of cash unless absolutely necessary, hence crowd mobilisation is not happening.
On March 30, TRS candidate of Secunderabad, Talasani Saikiran Yadav, son of minister T Srinivas Yadav, and Hyderabad candidate P Shrikant along with local leaders were supposed to mobilise crowds for a meeting to be addressed by KCR. Both anticipated a huge crowd and did not mobilise people. “Half an hour before KCR was supposed to arrive, TRS leaders found that there were not more than 5,000 people, and informed KCR,’’ a TRS leader said. Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav announced the meeting was cancelled, but did not give any reason.
“KCR was supposed to arrive for the meeting. But after he was informed about the thin crowd, he decided to skip it,’’ a TRS leader said.
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In Andhra Pradesh, YSRCP election managers are worried that candidates have tightened purse strings. Witnessing the huge turnout at Jagan’s public meetings, YSRCP candidates have apparently concluded that they will ride the “Jagan wave” and win easily. “Wave or no wave, parties have to manage at micro level. Candidates have to spend money to attract voters. Most candidates are confident that whether they spend money or not, they will win due to the Jagan wave. That is a bit worrying,” a YSRCP coordinator said.
On April 3, several empty chairs greeted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the Avanigadda public meeting in Krishna district. Sources said the BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Vijayawada, Kileru Dileep, a crorepati advocate and civil contractor, did not allot much money for mobilising a crowd as he felt that not many people would be interested to listening to Singh in Hindi. Singh skipped a meeting with Dileep later in the day.
Despite a high-voltage election campaign in Andhra Pradesh, which usually tops in election-related cash seizures, this time just Rs 100 crore cash has been seized. Ahead of 2014 polls, Rs 200 crore in cash was seized in Andhra region. In Telangana, nearly Rs 137 crore was seized before the December 7 Assembly elections. Ahead of the April 11 Lok Sabha elections, the seizure is less than Rs 5 crore.
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