YSRCP suspends 4 MLAs who cross-voted for TDP candidate in MLC election

YSRCP general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy accused TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu of offering MLAs ₹15-20 crore each to cross-vote.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Mar 24, 2023 | 9:44 PM Updated Mar 24, 2023 | 9:44 PM

Vundavalli Sridevi, Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy, Mekapati Chandrasekhar Reddy, and Anam Ramanarayana Reddy.

The YSRCP on Friday, 24 March, suspended four of its MLAs for cross-voting in the MLA-quota MLC elections in Andhra Pradesh a day earlier.

In a shocker to the ruling party, TDP candidate Panchumarthy Anuradha secured at least four additional votes than expected in the polling that was held on Thursday.

Anuradha won the election and the YSRCP candidate Kola Guruvulu lost due to the cross-voting by the ruling-party MLAs.

YSRCP’s allegations 

Andhra Pradesh government advisor and YSRCP general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy announced the suspension of Venkatagiri MLA Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, Udayagiri MLA Mekapati Chandrasekhar Reddy, Nellore Rural MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy, and Tadikonda MLA Vundavalli Sridevi on Friday.

“We conducted an internal investigation on cross-voting. We have taken action against the four people only after it was proved in the inquiry that they cross-voted,” he told reporters in the AP Assembly.

“We have decided to suspend them after consulting other senior leaders in the party and the disciplinary committee,” added Ramakrishna Reddy.

He also said that the ruling party believed that money was exchanged for the votes.

He accused TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu of having offered ₹15-20 crore to each MLA to cross-vote for the Opposition candidate.

“There is no democracy in the party. I was suspended even without giving show cause notice,” said Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy.

Disgruntled MLAs

In a keenly-contested election, the ruling YSRCP, which was nursing its wounds after a jolt in the recently held Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council election for graduates’ constituencies, faced yet another setback on Thursday.

The TDP sprang a surprise by winning the lone seat it contested. TDP candidate Panchumarthy Anuradha won the seat by securing 23 votes — one more than the required margin of 22.

The AP MLC election results established that at least four YSRCP MLAs resorted to cross-voting.

It was expected that the YSRCP’s two rebel MLAs — Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy from the Nellore Rural segment and Anam Ramanarayan Reddy from the Venkatagiri segment — would vote for the TDP candidate.

In a shocker, two more ruling-party legislators cross-voted and delivered a bitter defeat to the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP.

Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy and Anam Ramnarayan Reddy were considered the rebel MLAs of YSRCP and have been staying away from the party activities. They also levelled serious allegations against the party leadership and the government.

Venkatagiri MLA Anam Ramanaraya Reddy, who was a minister in Jagan’s father YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s Cabinet, has been sulking for some time.

Disappointed at not being included in Jagan’s first Cabinet and also after last year’s reshuffle, Ramanarayana Reddy made some controversial remarks against the YSRCP.

He created a flutter in December 2019, months after the YSRCP came to power, by claiming that mafia activities were underway in Nellore and police officers were being frequently transferred out of the place.

On 3 January, Jagan replaced him as the Venkatagiri party in charge with former chief minister N Janardhan Reddy’s son Ram Kumar Reddy.

For the last few days, he has been holding meetings with his supporters from the mandals that come under his constituency to decide about his future course of action.

Changing equations

The Tadikonda segment comes under the capital region Amaravati’s purview, and Sreedevi has been facing a lot of heat from her voters due to the anti-Amaravati stance of the YSRCP government, which supports the three-capitals plan.

Jagan also recently replaced her with another leader, Dokka Manikyavara Prasad, as the party’s constituency in charge.

Interestingly, before the polling on Thursday, Sreedevi was said to have met Jagan and discussed her compulsions.

Mekapati Chandrasekhar Reddy’s cross-voting had surprised many.

The Mekapati family has been loyal to the YSRCP since its inception. Chandrasekhar Reddy’s nephew Mekapati Vikram Reddy is also a YSRCP MLA from the Nellore district, representing Atmakur.

Vikram Reddy won in a by-poll after the death of his brother, Mekapati Goutham Reddy, who was in Jagan’s Cabinet.

Kotamreddy’s brother joins TDP

Meanwhile, Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy’s younger brother and YSRCP Seva Dal president Kotamreddy Giridhar Reddy, along with a large number of his followers, joined the TDP in the presence of former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday.

Extending a warm welcome to all those who joined the TDP on Friday, Naidu said he felt that the days of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy were numbered, as the people were no longer reposing faith in him.

He also said that winning the Legislative Council election with 23 votes on 23 March is nothing but god’s script and the almighty has redrafted the script, remarked Naidu.

“When a service-minded leader like Giridhar Reddy could not continue in the party, how can a common party activist continue in the YSRCP?” Naidu asked

Recalling that the TDP had emerged victorious even in the recent Graduates’ constituency polls for the Legislative Council, Naidu said that the party won the election even in the home constituency of Jagan.

Now the slogan of “psycho should go and cycle should come back” was echoing across the state, he added.

Kotamreddy Giridhar Reddy predicted that the TDP would win all 10 Assembly segments in Nellore.

Stating that the state badly needed the leadership of Naidu, he said that he joined the TDP only after taking the advice of all his followers.