Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Kadapa by-poll: Will Vijayalakshmi's silence fetch her votes in Pulivendula?

By Syed Akbar
Kadapa, May 4: Will the silence of Vijayalakshmi, YSR Congress nominee in Pulivendula 
Assembly constituency, fetch her majority of votes, is the major political question 
nagging the minds of people here.

All through her campaign Vijayalakshmi has been maintaining a stoic silence, not 
delivering any fiery speech or making impassionate plea to voters. The only words she had 
uttered in any of her campaigns were “vote for fan symbol”. While those accompanying her 
criticized both the Congress and the Telugu Desam, she just preferred to remain silent.

Incidentally, Vijayalakshmi did not make any speeches when she contested on Congress 
ticket in the bypolls held immediately after the death of her husband YS Rajasekhara 
Reddy. But her silence coupled with utmost sympathy for the late YSR translated into her 
victory. Now that Vijayalakshmi is contesting on YSR Congress party ticket, whether her 
“silent formula” works this time too, has become a focal point of debate in political 
circles.

In contrast, Vijayalakshmi’s electoral rival, brother-in-law and Congress nominee YS 
Vivekananda Reddy believes that in politics silence will not fetch votes. Vivekananda’s 
main campaign office, a few yards away from the main campaign office of Vijayalakshmi in 
Pulivendula, has come out with novel political strategy of projecting him as the “man 
that works and delivers the goods”.

Even Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who campaigned in Pulivendula on Tuesday, said 
YSR Congress would not be able to do anything worthwhile, with just two seats - a seat in 
the Lok Sabha, and a seat in the State Assembly. The Congress leadership is indirectly 
attacking the “silent campaign” of Vijayalakshmi, saying that even during the time of a 
strong leader like Rajasekhara Reddy, it was Vivekananda Reddy, who looked after YSR’s 
affairs in Pulivendula and Kadapa. Vivekananda Reddy is being projected as the “front 
man” of YSR’s family, thus snubbing Vijayalakshmi though indirectly as one not easily 
accessible to the common man.

The Telugu Desam candidate, M Ravindra Reddy, is trying to woo the electorate by 
highlighting the “negative” side of the development works undertaken by Rajasekhara 
Reddy’s family in Pulivendula. He says that taxes and house rents had gone up after 
Pulivendula was upgraded into a municipality, and thus the poor and lower middle classes 
were deprived of any economic benefits accrued through development.

Pulivendula has been a bastion of the Congress for three decades with just one defeat 
during 1984. YSR’s family has been representing the constituency all these years.

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