460 candidates in fray after withdrawal of nominations
Aspirants burn effigies of leaders 474 withdraw from contest on last day
VISAKHAPATNAM: Dissidents continue to give sleepless nights to the leadership of the Congress and Telugu Desam Party as the last date for withdrawal ended on Tuesday.
At several places, disappointed at denial of B forms, the aspirants burnt effigies of their leaders.
Meka Satyavathi, a TDP aspirant, staged a dharna in front of the TDP's Pandimetta office. Supporters of Sridhar, a Congress aspirant, half-tonsured their heads at NAD Kotha Road in protest against denial of ticket to their leader.
M. Pola Rao, a Congress aspirant, protested against allotment of ticket to G.V. Ravi Raju and continued his fast at Gurudwara junction. Seripalli Radha, who was upset over denial of ticket of her after clearing her candidature by the local leadership, and her supporters burnt the effigy of Visakha-II MLA S. Rangaraju.
In the Opposition camp, the fight for one-upmanship continued among the former Minister Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu and his friend-turned-foe Chodavaram MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao. Mr. Patrudu who opposed the nomination in half a dozen divisions, is in Hyderabad to depose before the three-member panel set up by party president N. Chandrababu Naidu to look into the charges made by him.
The TDP local unit is divided into two camps, one owing allegiance to Mr. Patrudu and the other led by Mr. Srinivasa Rao. However, party sources said due to importance of the poll outcome, the high command would try to patch up differences between the two groups. Meanwhile, 460 candidates remained in the fray for the 72 divisions in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation elections scheduled to be held on February 19. On the last day for withdrawal of nominations on Tuesday, 474 withdrew from contest. The maximum number of candidates- 12 each- are in fray for Divisions 3, 35, 50 and 60 while the minimum- 3 each- are contesting from 14, 29, 46, 58,69 and 70.
Till late in the night on Tuesday, compilation of ward-wise contestants was going on. CPI(M) fielded 14 candidates in alliance with TDP while in Division 9 both the parties had decided to back an independent. The BJP is contesting in 48 wards whereas the CPI is contesting in five wards in alliance with the Congress.
The following is the number of contestants zone-wise: Zone- I (Ward 1 to 6): 50; Zone II (7 to 18): 76; Zone III (19 to 30): 77; Zone IV (31 to 49): 116; Zone V (50 to 65): 110 and Zone VI (66 to 72): 31.
There were some last-minute changes in Congress and TDP. The Congress reportedly finalised the name of P. Chinna Rao for Division 19, J. Appalaraju for Ward 3 and Sinka for Ward 31 though there was no confirmation from the party.