Cong faces tough challenge in Tirupati bypolls



Tirupati: When actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi was being considered for a Rajya Sabha seat from Andhra Pradesh in March this year, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had reportedly objected to it telling the party high command that winning the by-election in Tirupati Assembly seat could be a difficult task for Congress.

Kiran's objection was over-ruled, Chiranjeevi became an MP and vacated the Tirupati assembly seat.

Now, Kiran's fears could come true as the ruling party is facing rough weather in the temple-town as the party prepares to face the June 12 by-election to Tirupati seat as it falls in his native Chittoor district.

Chiranjeevi had won the seat in the 2009 as the Praja Rajyam Party chief.

He was elevated to the Rajya Sabha as part of PRP's merger deal with Congress and the onus would be on him to ensure the party's victory in the seat he had held till recently.

Former chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams B Karunakar Reddy, who lost to Chiranjeevi by a margin of 10,800 votes in 2009 as a Congress nominee, is now in fray as the YSR Congress candidate.

Going by the current trend that is favouring the YSR Congress in the state, Karunakar Reddy is the front-runner in the by-election race, leaving Congress camp worried.

The ruling party is banking almost solely on the caste factor to win the Tirupati seat but the Telugu Desam Party could dent its chances, if any.

PTI