The Rachabanda programme held here on Tuesday ended up being a political standoff between Anantapur Congress MP Ananta Venkatrami Reddy and Anantapur YSRC MLA B. Gurunath Reddy.

As soon as the programme began, Mr. Gurunath Reddy and YSRC cadre objected to the missing photograph of Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy at the venue. Once the issue subsided, YSRC activists took to sloganeering supporting Samaikyandhra evoking an almost unanimous response from the public and the leaders alike.

Adding fuel to the fire, Mr. Gurunath Reddy, in his speech during the programme, accused the ruling Congress party and the officialdom of neglecting the poor with a veiled reference to MP Venkatrami Reddy. He accused the Congress party of not being able to solve the issue of demand for additional gas connections under the Deepam scheme.

In retaliation, Mr. Venkatrami Reddy said that he would ensure gas connection to all those without one under the existing schemes. “When the Congress came to power in 2004, there were very few pensions. Today, there are more than 20,000. Same is the case with ration cards. I accept that some work needs to be done and I take it upon myself to solve the issues,” he said adding that he would not like to accuse the officials alone for the lapses.

Later, the MP left the venue seemingly angry at the rather slow proceedings of the meeting which took place till around 1 p.m. in the afternoon. At around 4 p.m., the MLA’s supporters took to the streets demanding the Anantapur RDO to apologise to the MLA for his rude behaviour and for giving priority to the MP over the local MLA in distributing assets to people in the Rachabanda programme.

Congress MP Ananta Venkatrami Reddy and Anantapur YSRC MLA B. Gurunath Reddy exchange hot words during Rachabanda