Electioneering for the Payakaraopeta Assembly segment, which is going to the polls on June 12 along with 17 Assembly segments and Nellore Lok Sabha constituency, ended on Sunday.
Till 5 p.m., the deadline for campaign to end, the candidates were busy making visible and audible appeal to the voters for the last time. There were strong rumours that distribution of money, liquor, mobile phones, gold and silver ornaments, and even two-wheelers to the voters as inducements had already commenced.
But, on the last day, there were no reports of any person being arrested for distributing money or other inducements.
Payakaraopeta will see a keen contest and the margin of the winner will be very thin like in the 2009 election, say many locals.
There are nine candidates in the fray: K. Lokanatham (CPI-M), K.N.P. Chakravarthy (BJP), Ch. Venkata Rao (Telugu Desam), Gantela Sumana (Congress), G. Babu Rao (YSR Congress), J. Rajendra Prasad (Samajwadi Party), Gudibandi Babu Rao, Matha Suresh, and Maarthi Lakshmana Murthy (all independents).
Top leaders of the three parties visited the segment more than once as the by-elections were crucial for their survival.
While Mr. Venkata Rao, two-time winner till 2009, and Mr. Babu Rao, winner in 2009, started their campaign several weeks ago — when political developments indicated that by-election was imminent after Mr. Babu Rao decided to sail along with YSRCP president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and put in his papers.
He was ultimately disqualified with 16 other Congress MLAs. Congress, however, took time to decide on Ms. Sumana, but she quickly caught up with the other two.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, film star-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi, APCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, Ministers from the area — Ganta Srinivasa Rao and P. Balaraju — and a few other Ministers campaigned for Ms. Sumana, who is in the fray for the 6th time from the segment after winning on the TDP ticket in 1983.
On Saturday, Union Minister of State for HRD D. Purandeswari addressed some meetings.
TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, YSR Congress honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma and her daughter Sharmila conducted roadshows.
Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy visited the area before the elections were announced.
CPI(M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu was present when Mr. Lokanadham filed his nomination.