The ruling YSR Congress Party has won the maiden election to the Kuppam Municipality by bagging 19 of the 25 wards in the civic body, causing severe embarrassment to Telugu Desam Party’s national president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has been representing the Kuppam constituency in the Assembly since 1989.
Though municipal elections are held elsewhere in the State, the prime focus of the ruling party has been on Kuppam. Amidst heavy police bandobust, the counting of votes began at the Government Degree College in the town on Wednesday.
By the end of the first round at around noon, the YSRCP was declared elected in 14 wards and the TDP in one. Later, the Opposition party could post victories in five more wards, mostly located in the heart of Kuppam town.
The ruling party had started the poll preparations even before the release of the election notification. It had conducted a series of government programmes that were attended by Panchayat Raj Minister P. Ramachandra Reddy.
The YSRCP had deployed all the 13 MLAs from the district for the election campaign. Basking in the recent victories registered by the party in the sarpanch and MPTC / ZPTC elections, the cadres unleashed a high-voltage campaign and left nothing to chance.
In contrast, the mood among the TDP cadres had been sombre till Mr. Naidu made a three-day visit to the town a few days before the election notification. Thousands of activists from across Chittoor district descended on Kuppam.
Going by their upbeat mood, it was expected that the TDP would either win the civic body, or, at least, give a neck-and-neck fight to the ruling party. However, the expectation was short-lived as the TDP lagged in the last phase of its campaign.
YSRCP activists in Kuppam and Palamaner were of the view that certain “objectionable remarks” made by Mr. Naidu and his son and party general secretary Lokesh against Mr. Ramachandra Reddy proved to be TDP’s nemesis in Kuppam.
In the last 32 years, the non-descript village panchayat has witnessed a total overhaul of voters. The old generation has given way to young blood. The series of poll debacles the TDP has been witnessing since 2019 is also a demoralising factor for the party cadres.
It is also felt that the leaders tasked with ensuring the party’s win in Kuppam have completely ignored the aggressive campaign of the ruling party. It is said that they neither took the widening gap between the people of Kuppam and Mr. Naidu seriously nor attempted to match the political strategy of the YSRCP.
Meanwhile, the ruling party also made a clean sweep of the municipal polls in Rajampeta and Kamalapuram. The ruling party maintained its lead right from the first round in both the municipalities.
In Kamalpuram Municipality, the YSRCP bagged 15 of 20 wards. In Rajampeta, it won 24 of 30 wards and the TDP four. One ward went to an independent candidate.