This eleventh-hour twist leaves CPI (M) fuming. Since bifurcation was done, I believe that the NDA should come to power at the Centre to trigger development in Andhra Pradesh and I am supporting it, Mr. Sabbam Hari said.

In an eleventh hour twist to the contest for Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat, Jai Samaikyandhra Party and CPI-M candidate Sabbam Hari withdrew from the contest citing the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay the State bifurcation process as the reason. Mr. Hari also announced that he was supporting the NDA candidate and BJP State president K. Haribabu.

Addressing the media here on Tuesday on the eve of polling, he said the Apex Court’s decision on Monday to fix the date of next hearing in August and not giving a stay on the ongoing process of bifurcation left him without a ground to contest. “We entered the elections on the ground that we will stop bifurcation. With the court not granting a stay, I believe there is no stopping the process,” he said.

On the other hand, his withdrawal from the race has left the CPI (M) fuming. The CPI (M), which supported the JSP in Visakhapatnam and Anakapalle constituencies with a view to oppose the BJP, has now decided to back the YSRC in these two constituencies, party’s State executive member Ch. Narsing Rao announced at another media conference here. “We expected him to at least inform us of his decision,” Mr. Narsing Rao said.

The CPI (M) leader was so upset over the development that he accused the latter of entering the electoral fray only for the sake of money. “And since he did not get it from his party, he struck a deal with the BJP,” Mr. Narsing Rao charged. Mr. Rao was the CPI (M) candidate for Visakhapatnam LS seat, but withdrew in favour of Mr. Sabbam Hari.

“Since bifurcation was done, I believe that the NDA should come to power at the Centre to trigger development in Andhra Pradesh and I am supporting it,” Mr. Sabbam Hari said. “It is my personal decision and no one has influenced me,” he added.

“I had said that I would contest if the YSRC had nominated an outsider for the seat. The YSRC, by announcing Y.S. Vijayalakshmi for the seat, had made it clear that they intend to capture the city and plunder the region,” he charged and said that by withdrawing from the contest, he would strengthen the hands of the NDA.